The Reason Alex Van Halen Sued His Ex-Wife

Divorces are often messy, and when the stakes are ramped up — financially or emotionally, but let's be honest, especially financially — it just gets worse. Ask any mere mortal who's been through it. As for rock-and-roll royalty? Come to find out, they're human, too, and their stories are similar to everyone else's — just add some zeroes. A bunch of zeroes. Plus a good healthy dose of "That's mine, and you can't have it!"

As evidence, we present to you The Case of the Missing Moniker. (Well, borrowed, anyway.) The moniker in question is that of Van Halen — yes, a band, but also the surname of two of the founding members, the Brothers Van Halen — Eddie on guitar, Alex on drums. (Says All Music, they changed the name from Mammoth when they found out another band already called itself Mammoth. So many bands, so few names, apparently.) As such, band names have become a tidy cottage industry unto themselves, in terms of intellectual property. Away back in 1984, Alex married Kelly Carter, says The Hollywood Reporter, and though perhaps it was intended as Happily Ever After, "Ever After" was loosely defined as about 12 years.

With Eddie's son Wolfgang now on bass, Van Halen remains a family affair

They divorced. Now fast-forward to 2013. Kelly — still Van Halen — has her own construction and interior design company named — wait for it — Kelly Van Halen. She filed for trademark for use on a variety of products, including — though why Alex would be upset about this branding we don't understand — swimsuits. Also chairs. Plus building stuff.

No doubt the attorneys made out well, as attorneys tend to do in situations like this. (Hey, everybody's gonna make a buck. There's a reason there are so many lawyer jokes — and they're all so bitter.) In January 2015 the plaintiffs told the court that they'd agreed to a settlement, says Rolling Stone, part of which declared that "Kelly agreed to not put her name anywhere near any music-related products." Further, she agreed to "use Kelly Van Halen with another word like 'Designer Originals by Kelly Van Halen." Everything was resolved "amicably."

So who got the monogrammed towels?