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The Real-Life Legal Issues Of NCIS Star Mark Harmon, Explained

Mark Harmon is known for his role as Leroy Jethro Gibbs on "NCIS," a show filled with legal disputes, murder, and mystery. However, the actor has had his own share of legal battles in his personal life, even if they aren't as bad as the darkest thing Gibbs ever did on "NCIS." That said, a custody battle with his sister, Kristin Harmon, in the 1980s went to court and led to the siblings becoming estranged from each other.

Kristin dealt with drug and alcohol addiction after divorcing rock star Ricky Nelson. This led to her completing a stint in rehab, but the same day that she got out, she received a subpoena ordering her to appear in court. Her brother and his wife wanted custody of her youngest son, Sam Nelson, as they were concerned about her alcohol and drug use. The couple was awarded temporary custody at the hearing, and Kristin was ordered to remain 200 yards away from them. 

Ultimately, Mark ended the dispute in 1987 and retained visitation rights over Sam while Kristin was given full custody of the child. The family also attended therapy to improve their relationship, and Kristin faded out of the public eye afterward.

Mark Harmon's sister stayed quiet following the custody battle

Kristin Harmon enjoyed some success as an actor in her own right. She appeared in some movies and TV shows in the 1960s and '70s, most notably on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," which featured Ricky Nelson and his family. She also starred alongside her ex-husband in the 1965 romantic comedy "Love and Kisses." However, it seems that she decided to live a quiet life following the public custody battle with her brother — until news broke of her passing a few years ago.

Kristin Harmon died of a sudden heart attack in 2018, aged 72. As of this writing, Mark Harmon has never commented on her passing in public, and it's unknown what their relationship was like in the years following their custody battle over Sam Nelson. Some reports claim it remained fractured throughout the years, but no one in the Harmon family has confirmed this to be the case, so we should take those stories with a pinch of salt. Meanwhile, Kristin's son said in 2016 that he and his mom stayed close, revealing that she relocated to New Mexico after giving up fame.

To learn more about the "NCIS" actor's life, check out the untold truth of Mark Harmon. Meanwhile, those who want to know about his character can discover what happened to Gibbs during his "NCIS" exit.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).