The Truth About Judge Judy's Children

"Judge Judy" may have officially stopped taping after 25 incredible seasons, but Judge Judith Sheindlin (who, yes, really is a judge) hasn't left the airwaves. In 2021, right as her historic show wrapped, she debuted "Judy Justice." However, as Variety pointed out, the new show was pretty much the old show, as it lacked any real surprises. That said, there is plenty in Judge Judy's life to surprise even her biggest fans, like her whopping net worth, how much her appearance has changed, and the fact that she's been involved in a number of lawsuits. What's more, despite her hard-hitting demeanor, she's a total family person.

Sheindlin has been married three times — twice to the same person! — and is a mom of five. She tied the knot with her second husband, Jerry Sheindlin, for the first time in 1977, but they divorced in 1990. As she later explained, per E!, her father died and she felt that Jerry failed to support her through the difficult time. The separation was only temporary, though, and they remarried a year later. "I missed him," Judge Judy confessed, saying she didn't mind that her ex hadn't changed much. "He did learn to use a calendar better. He learned to write down: 'October 21, Judy's birthday. Buy present, card,'" she shared with Marlo Thomas (via E!). 

Despite the drama, her relationship with her kids never faltered, and while her children aren't nearly as famous, there's plenty to talk about. Here's the untold truth about Judge Judy's children.

Judge Judy paused her career for her kids

Judge Judy may be known for her no-nonsense work in the courtroom, but Judy Sheindlin also has another big love in her life: her kids. The famed TV judge first tied the knot with attorney Ronald Levy back in 1964, just as she was turning 21. As she told Fox's OBJECTified in 2017, in those times, there were certain expectations that young women faced at that age. "It was time for me to get married [because] all my friends were getting married," she shared. That being said, she was certain she wanted to have kids, not because it was expected, but because "I was never one of those women who said, 'I want a career, and I'm really not into having babies.'" So that's exactly what she did. As The Sun reports, daughter Jamie was born in 1966 and her younger brother, Adam, followed in 1968.

Sheindlin hit pause on her career to raise her kids and she has no regrets about it, however, she told Fox that she soon became "very bored" staying at home. She returned to school to get her Master's in Family Law from NYU and, after five years of being a devoted housewife, decided it was time to get back to work. However, Levy didn't agree and they grew apart. Sheindlin told Fox, "My first husband is a lovely, lovely man but he always viewed my job as a hobby, and there came a time where I resented that." They divorced in 1976.

Adam Levy was at the center of a headline-making defamation case

While Judy Sheindlin's daughter, Jamie Hartwright, decided to pursue a career outside of law and keep an extremely low profile, the same can't be said for her son, Adam Levy. Not only did he follow his parents into the legal profession and make a name for himself as the D.A. in Putnam County, New York, but he was also thrust into the spotlight in 2013. That's when Levy filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith. As The Journal News reported at the time, Smith was working on a case involving Levy's former personal trainer, Alexandru Hossu. Hossu, who was an illegal immigrant from Romania, was arrested and charged with two counts of rape involving a 13-year-old girl. During court proceedings, Smith called him Levy's "live-in trainer" and, as TMZ reported, implied that Levy was sheltering an illegal immigrant and using his powers as a D.A. to protect him.

After a legal battle that lasted four years, Levy won his defamation suit and Smith was ordered to pay him $150,000, plus issue a formal apology. In the statement, which read like a retraction, Smith conceded that Hossu (who was eventually acquitted in 2014) didn't live in Levy's house, that Levy didn't know anything about Hossu being an illegal immigrant, and that Levy didn't interfere with the investigation.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Adam Levy can't stay out of the news

Adam Levy couldn't stay out of the news in the mid-2010s and the reports against him were not flattering. In 2015, he was ousted from his post as Putnam County District Attorney, losing to Putnam Valley Town Supervisor Robert Tendy, despite filing a petition with the State Supreme Court to block Tendy's candidacy. That same year, he became embroiled in a headline-making case when he indicted defense lawyer George Galgano not once but twice. Levy accused Galgano of bribing an alleged sexual assault victim to stop her testifying against his client. When the case was dismissed, Levy was dissatisfied with the outcome and reportedly did anything he could to change it. According to Poughkeepsie Journal, he even allowed a prisoner to have sex in the D.A. office's conference room in exchange for testimony against Galgano.

Eventually, the second indictment was also dismissed, and that's when Galgano filed his own lawsuit against Levy and the county in 2016. In it, he revealed more disturbing details, including that Levy reportedly wiretapped him and didn't shy away from "falsifying warrant applications and incentivizing witnesses to fabricate allegations." What's more, he claimed that Levy ignored First Assistant District Attorney Lisa Ortolano when she told him that the case shouldn't be presented a second time because there was "no reliable basis for the charges." Galgano's attorney, Robert Altchiler, slammed Levy's actions, saying, "every prosecutorial agency in America should study this case and use it to show their prosecutors how not to do their jobs."

Two of Judge Judy's stepkids also work in law

Soon after Judy Sheindlin and Ronald Levy's 1976 divorce, Sheindlin met her second husband, New York Supreme Court justice Jerry Sheindlin, at a bar. They tied the knot the following year and she became a stepmom to his three children — Nicole, Gregory and Jonathan Sheindlin — two of whom followed in their parents' footsteps. Gregory was the first to get his Doctor of Law (JD)Law from Brooklyn Law School in 1989, per LinkedIn. He started his career as an Assistant District Attorney at the New York County District Attorney's Office, then spent four years as a trial attorney for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. In 2001, he became a partner in Sheindlin & Sullivan, LLP, then opened Sheindlin Law Firm in 2014. His specialty is representing clients in cases of personal injury, civil rights, and criminal wrongdoing.

Then there's Nicole, who received a Bachelor's Degree in Design and Applied Arts from the University at Buffalo, per LinkedIn, before getting a Doctor of Law (JD)Law from New York Law School in 1993. She began her career that year as a Senior Attorney in the Criminal Defense Division of The Legal Aid Society where she handled quite the hefty caseload. In 2007, she left to become a partner in her own private practice, Mentzer & Sheindlin, which focuses on criminal and civil litigation and does pro bono work for low-income defendants faced with criminal and immigration suits.

Jonathan Sheindlin chose a different path

Of the three Sheindlin siblings, only Jonathan decided to bypass law and follow a completely different career path. After obtaining his MD degree from New York Medical College, Dr. Jonathan Sheindlin completed his residency in Ophthalmology at St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital Center in his native New York before pursuing a fellowship in Vitreo-Retinal Surgery at Harvard University Medical School. Since then, he's been working as an ophthalmologist whose sub-specialty is focusing on diseases of the retina and vitreous and the surgeries required to cure them. These days, he's affiliated with the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, The Bronx Eye Center, and the Brooklyn Eye Center, among others.

In addition to being a practicing doctor with a perfect five-star rating online, he's also conducted research into "posterior segment changes in the aging eye, complex diabetic retinal detachments, and long term strategies to decrease the damaging effects of retinal vascular diseases." What's more, Dr. Sheindlin is a member of several medical organizations, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Retinal Specialists, Bronx County Medical Society, and New York State Ophthalmologic Society. And if all that wasn't enough, he was also named an Honorary Police Surgeon for the NYPD.

Gregory Sheindlin was at the center of a headline-making lawsuit

Like stepbrother Adam Levy, Gregory Sheindlin made news for being at the center of a headline-making lawsuit. The drama began in 2009 when a man named James H. Brady failed to pay his rent and Sheindlin was hired to represent the Manhattan commercial landlord taking Brady to court. According to the New York Post, Brady was found guilty but spent years filing lawsuits to overturn the verdict. 

In the end, the rent Brady owed combined with interest and attorneys' fees totaled to a whopping $1.7 million. Ramping up his litigation, Brady sued a lot of defendants, including Sheindlin, claiming that the unanimous guilty verdict was falsified in an effort to defraud him of millions. A court found those claims to be "without merit" and, eventually, Brady had filed so many lawsuits that he was sanctioned in both state and federal courts. Rather than backing down, he started posting YouTube videos accusing Sheindlin of stealing his life's savings and robbing him of $1.7 million. He also searched for a lawyer on Craigslist, advertising, "Get these photos of Judge Judy's son stealing in press win $$$."

Sheindlin finally had enough and filed a defamation lawsuit against Brady in 2021. He called Brady a "vindictive, disgruntled, serial litigant" and asked the court to remove his videos and forbid him from posting others. Meanwhile, Brady assured the New York Post that all of his claims were true.

Nicole Sheindlin founded an important mentoring program

Nicole Sheindlin's passion goes far beyond the law. In addition to her successful career as a lawyer, she's also an avid traveler who has been to 38 countries across seven continents and she calls herself a "zealous advocate for human rights and gender equality." Indeed, her resume includes consulting work for Lowe's Diversity and Inclusion team, as well as work as a UNICEF USA field visitor. To date, Judge Judy's stepdaughter has been on three missions with the non-profit, which saw her travel to Morocco, Senegal, and Peru to work with and empower women and girls.

What's more, Sheindlin also has her own charitable initiative which she founded with her stepmother in 2005. Dubbed Her Honor Mentoring, the community outreach program pairs high school students with local business professionals for "weekly hands-on learning experiences and compassionate guidance," as well as monthly workshops. As the CEO, Sheindlin has helped make the initiative a real success and, to date, it's worked with over 500 high school girls and over 300 businesswomen. It's also given out over $1 million in mentorship stipends, scholarships, and grants. As for why Sheindlin is so passionate about the project, its mission statement says it all: "Connecting strong, positive, female role models with young women doesn't just change one thing, it changes everything!"