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Doc sues starlet to get ring back

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By Mary Jo Melone
5/21/2010 © Health News Florida

It was a storybook romance once, between a soap opera star and a Tampa oncologist she called Dr. Phil. Now it’s a lawsuit over a $98,000 engagement ring and $43,000 worth of furniture – even a ceiling fan.

The physician, Dr. Philippe Spiess, a urological specialist at H.Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, sued Crystal Hunt, who was until this March “Stacy” on ‘One Life to Live,” over items she allegedly refused to return after their break-up in June 2009. The suit was filed May 13 in Hillsborough Circuit Court.

The end was cruel, according to the suit. Hunt told him the engagement was off in a message from her Blackberry in which she promised to “cut you a check” for the items purchased for the sprawling house they shared in Tarpon Springs. A month later, he wrote to Hunt and asked for the ring and the check she promised. According to the suit, Hunt never delivered.

Hunt, 25 and a native of Clearwater, appeared on “Guiding Light” for three years prior to her stint on “One Life to Live.” She couldn’t be located for comment. A call to Spiess’ office at Moffitt was not returned, and his lawyer did not return a phone call.

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The romance between Spiess and Hunt was the subject of much pop and fizz when it was reported in the St. Petersburg Times on Valentine’s Day 2009. They met in 2007 when Spiess treated Hunt’s aunt for cancer. According to the newspaper, on Christmas Eve the following year, Spiess knelt before her with a five carat yellow diamond ring in his hand and proposed by a bathtub filled with bubbles, water lilies and roses. On the wall he had written in soap, “Will you marry me?”

Spiess, who is also an assistant professor at the University of South Florida School of Medicine, later admitted to the Tampa Tribune he had his qualms about getting involved with Hunt. “I didn’t want to get into a relationship with an actress because I didn’t want to end up on ‘Entertainment Tonight’….But I found that Crystal is very grounded and very genuine with good family values,” he said. 

--Mary Jo Melone is an independent journalist in Tampa. Questions and comments can be directed to Carol Gentry, Editor, by e-mail.