In a storage facility in Beverly Hills sit two frozen female embryos.
The two microscopic organisms are at the centre of a now three-year legal battle between the couple that created them.
Two years later in 2013, the couple fertilised and froze two embryos together.
Around that time, Vergara’s Hollywood career gained momentum and Loeb’s hot dog topping startup, Onion Crunch, took off.
Then, in 2014, the couple parted ways.
They have been locked in a legal battle ever since.
How did we get here?
In 2015, Loeb first sued Vergara in a Californian court for custody of the fertilised eggs.
Loeb was seeking – and still is – to have the embryos implanted into a surrogate, and to raise them as a solo parent. However, the actress’ lawyer told E News she “is content to leave the embryos frozen indefinitely as she has no desire to have children with her ex”.
In an op-ed on the issue in The New York Times, Loeb argued that keeping the fertilised eggs frozen forever is “tantamount to killing them”.
“A woman is entitled to bring a pregnancy to term even if the man objects,” he wrote. “Shouldn’t a man who is willing to take on all parental responsibilities be similarly entitled to bring his embryos to term even if the woman objects?”
Loeb eventually withdrew his Californian lawsuit in December 2016. He attributed the decision to his refusal to identify two ex girlfriends who had undergone abortions – a step the court deemed necessary to establish his pro-life position. However, Vergara’s legal team pegged the withdrawal as a stalling tactic that would allow Loeb to file again at a later date.
That same month, the Louisiana suit was lodged.
Loeb claimed he and Vergara had dated in the south-eastern US state in 2014, while the actress was shooting a movie and even planned a life together there. But it’s also worth noting – as the Louisiana federal judge reportedly did – that it’s the only state to consider embryos ‘juridical persons’, which essentially means they have the same legal rights as people.
This had allowed Loeb to take a different tack: this time, the suit was filed against Vergara not by him, but on behalf of the two fertilised eggs.
According to court papers obtained by Page Six, the suit reportedly listed the embryos as plaintiffs named “Emma” and “Isabella”, and claimed that by not being born they were being denied inheritance set aside for them in a trust fund established by Loeb.
But in dismissing the suit in August 2017, the judge reportedly found the court had no jurisdiction over the case as the embryos are “citizens” of California and neither Loeb nor Vergara has permanent ties to Louisiana, TMZ reported.
What’s happening now?
Well, theoretically Loeb could refile a suit in California.
Although in February 2017, Vergara (who is now married to Magic Mike actor Joe Manganiello) lodged her own suit in the state, seeking an injunction that would permanently block Loeb from being able to use the embryos without her written consent, as per the agreement they signed at the ART Reproductive Center in Beverly Hills back in 2013.
However, Loeb seems to be using other methods to undermine and harass Vergara.
The entrepreneur is currently making a movie about the famous right-to-life court case Roe vs Wade.
According to ABC News, Roe vs Wade was the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that legalised abortion across the United States.
The case was brought before the Supreme Court by a Texan woman named Norma McCorvey. McCorvey, who used the pseudonym Jane Roe for the case, was unmarried, pregnant and wanted an abortion. She was unable to legally procure one in Texas at the time.
At the time American states were able to set their own abortion laws, and terminations were only legal in Texas if the pregnancy presented a serious risk to the mother’s life.
McCorvey went up against Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade, and argued that Texan laws were unconstitutional because they violated her right to privacy and were vague.
The Supreme Court found in her favour, seven to two. Law makers then went on to establish a new national framework for abortions.
Loeb has cast conservative actors Jon Voight and Stacey Dash to star in the film.
According to the Daily Beast, the movie contains graphic scenes of featuring “buckets” of foetuses.
The film also allegedly frames the pro choice movement as an elaborate, racist conspiracy with anti-Semitic overtones.
Sources close to Loeb say his move to the right has more to do with getting revenge on Vergara than any long held beliefs.
“He is obsessed with Sofía,” the old friend told the New York Post. “He’s using [the embryo battle and the movie] to promote himself.”
As for the court case? It appears to be ongoing.