MANATEE — The saga that has become the personal life of Tiger Woods took an unexpected detour Thursday through Manatee County.
Melinda Jannette, a 30-year-old porn star from Sarasota, filed a petition at the Manatee County courthouse to determine the paternity of her 9-year-old son, alleging the world’s No. 1 golfer is the father, according to court documents posted by TMZ.com Thursday night.
The documents were not available late Thursday night on the clerk of court’s website, but the documents available at TMZ included the petition and a receipt for a $23.16 filing fee.
Jannette could not be reached for comment at her Sarasota home. Her husband Nick Jannette answered the door and called Jannette’s agent, Gina Rodriguez, with Tarzana, Calif.-based DD Management Group.
A Bradenton Herald reporter heard Rodriguez tell Nick Jannette that an interview would not be granted because the Herald wasn’t paying.
“I’m here to file a petition for a paternity test,” Jannette said in a TMZ video shot outside the courthouse. “The reason is because my mother is claiming that in 2002 she has a confirmed paternity test for someone who is not the father.”
Manatee County court documents show another petition to determine paternity with the same child was made Jan. 23, 2002, with 34-year-old Pele Lacruz Watkins.
Watkins has been in federal custody since October 2004 and is scheduled to be released in December for charges including a firearm violation, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office website and the Federal Bureau of Prison website.
According to local court documents, Watkins was found to be the child’s father and ordered to pay child’s support to Jannette’s mother, who has been keeping the child since 2007.
“(Watkins) is not the dad. He never took a DNA test,” said Nick Jannette, responding to a question about the previously filed petition.
In the video, Melinda Jannette stated she believes Tiger Woods is the father.
“I just feel that I need the truth to be out there, for people to get my side of the story,” continued Jannette, who added the purpose of the petition was for “court-ordered DNA for my son … and Tiger Woods.”
Jannette added she would like Woods to be a part of her son’s life.
“It’s really hard, he’s at the age he’s asking why his skin color’s different … that’s hard,” she said.
Nick Jannette, who has been married to Melinda Jannette for a year, said the story was leaked from a porn set in Los Angeles.
He said Jannette filed the paperwork to set the record straight about the child’s father.
He said his wife met Woods in Hawaii and had an ongoing relationship with him.
Nick Jannette also said he runs a website in which he and Melinda Jannette have done movies together.
On Dec. 11, 2009, Woods admitted marital infidelity and announced he was taking an indefinite leave from golf to focus on his marriage. Woods has been linked to more than a dozen mistresses, according to several worldwide media sources. A five-month hiatus, which included seven weeks of therapy, ended with his appearance at the Masters in April.
He is currently playing this week at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in California.
The Herald submitted a question seeking comment from Woods at his website, but had not received a response as of late Thursday.
Melinda Jannette has been in four movies and recently signed a contract with Vivid Pictures, according to Nick Jannette.
On April 5, Melinda Jannette pleaded no contest to a count of prostitution after she was arrested by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office investigators who responded to her website on which she was soliciting herself. According to arrest documents, she also was arrested for prostitution in 2008, but adjudication was withheld.
Her next movie, “The Three Mistresses,” is set to come out next month, according to Nick Jannette.
— Wire reports and Herald editor Brent Conklin contributed to this report.