After a stormy breakup, your ex-boyfriend posts on his Facebook page that you had an abortion during the relationship – and then repeats this in a radio interview. That’s a pretty clear violation of your privacy, isn’t it?

Well, maybe not, according to a recent California Court of Appeal decision. If you become a public figure, even if only as a result of your relationship with a celebrity, you may lose the right to keep personal and very private details of your life out of public view.

The ruling, which includes allegations worthy of a supermarket tabloid, involves a dispute between famed boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shantel Jackson, his sometime girlfriend.  Jackson v. Mayweather (2017) S.O.S. 2039.

Mayweather is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Undefeated as a professional when he retired from the ring in 2015, he was a five-division world champion who won 15 world titles.

He has also had serious run-ins with the law, including convictions for battery against several women and a no-contest plea on charges that he had threatened his children.

Ms. Jackson met Mayweather in 2006 in Atlanta, soon moved in with him in Las Vegas, and at one point they were engaged to be married. “However, the relationship frayed” in 2012, according to the understated language of the court.

At various times during the next two years, Ms. Jackson said, Mayweather pointed a gun at her and threatened to shoot her in the foot, took a $2.5 million diamond ring from her finger, removed over $1 million of property from her storage unit, and “kept her a virtual prisoner” in his home.

Despite their tumultuous relationship, Ms. Jackson became pregnant with twins by Mayweather in November of 2013. In January, according to court documents, the pregnancy was terminated “and Mr. Mayweather was so informed.”

Ms. Jackson moved to Los Angeles, and in April of 2014 the two got into a dispute about images on her social media accounts, which Mayweather wanted removed.

When she refused, Mayweather posted on his Facebook and Instagram accounts that “the real reason me and Shantel Christine Jackson broke up was because she got an abortion, and I’m totally against killing babies. She killed our twin babies.”

He also posted a copy of a sonogram of the two fetuses, and a medical report about the pregnancy.

Ms. Jackson sued Mayweather for invasion of privacy and defamation.

Mayweather’s attorneys responded that her complaint was an attempt to deny Mayweather’s free speech rights.

They argued that Jackson had surrendered her right to privacy “when she made herself newsworthy by virtue of her relationship with Mayweather,” and had willingly participated in disclosure of private details about their life together.

Jackson had indeed promoted her own celebrity status. She had her own website, appeared on the Howard Stern radio program, and had hundreds of thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers.

His lawyers said abortion is a topic of public interest, and Mayweather’s statements were not false. For those reasons, they argued, his statements were protected by the First Amendment.

The trial court ruled against Mayweather. Whether his statements were protected by the First Amendment “depended on contemporary standards and thus was largely a question of fact for the jury to decide.”

The appellate court took a different view.

It doubted whether Mayweather’s assertion that Jackson had an abortion, or his comments about “killing babies,” contributed to the public debate on women’s reproductive rights.

However, that was not the key issue in the view of the appellate court.

“The evidence unequivocally established, as Jackson concedes, that she and Mayweather are both high profile individuals who were subject to extensive media scrutiny,” the court said.

“Jackson willingly participated in publication of information about her own life and her relationship with Mayweather that others – that is, those who did not aspire to a career in modeling and the entertainment industry – might consider private.”

Publication of intensely private information such as an alleged abortion (which Jackson neither confirmed nor denied) “might well be offensive to a reasonable person,” the appellate court said.

But “given Jackson’s high profile and voluntary disclosure on social media of many aspects of her personal life, the publication of those otherwise intimate facts must necessarily be considered newsworthy,” it reasoned.

In other words, those who actively seek to attract the attention of the public can’t suddenly demand the right to keep some aspects of their lives out of public view. Fame and privacy don't seem to coexist.

By Lynda I. Chung