Tom Benson: 'Hard to take' attacks by Rita LeBlanc, family; 'at first, I couldn't believe it' _lowres

Associated Press file photo by GERALD HERBERT -- Tom Benson poses with wife Gayle Benson, and granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc before the 49ers game with the Saints in November.

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson said he was surprised by the lawsuit his daughter, Renee, and grandchildren, Rita and Ryan, have filed and said that having your family attack you "is hard to take," the 87-year-old recently told The New York Times.

"At first, I couldn’t believe it, you know. But I finally accepted it, and hopefully it will work out all right," he said in the report. "The only bad thing is, you just go your way and leave us alone, you know?”

The story shares a detail that Tom Benson and his wife, Gayle, are only apart three days a year while he attends an all-male religious retreat.

"I’m with him 24 hours a day,” Gayle said in the report. “We have a very close relationship. He tells and talks to me a lot about what’s going on. It’s been a big help to me.”

The dispute over future ownership of the Saints and Pelicans has dominated New Orleans headlines since January, when Tom Benson announced his wife would inherit the two teams.

See the Times story here.