The day after the Fourth of July last year, Julie Ireland posted a notice on the web page of her Greenbrier neighborhood in Leawood, sharing the latest news about her daughter, Aubrey.
“Hello Neighbor! One of Greenbrier’s own, my daughter Aubrey, is on stage this summer at Crown Center,” Julie Ireland wrote of her daughter’s role in “Evita.”
The role that 21-year-old Aubrey Ireland took earlier this month, however, is not such proud parental fodder for a newsletter.
In an unusual case, the senior studying music theater at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music won a stalking protection order against her mother, Julie, and father, David Ireland.
Aubrey convinced a Cincinnati judge that her parents have been harassing her. Among her complaints: that they often drove to the school, unannounced, and have accused her wrongly of promiscuity, using illegal drugs and suffering from mental problems.
The Kansas City Star attempted to reach Aubrey and her parents on Thursday. Calls and e-mails were not returned.
The Irelands reportedly admitted in court that they installed monitoring software on their daughter’s laptop and cellphone, which Aubrey likened to being like “a dog with a collar on.”
“It’s just been really embarrassing and upsetting to have my parents come to my university when I’m a grown adult and just basically slander my name and follow me around,” Aubrey said in an Oct. 9 court hearing, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
She told the court that she asked her parents to stop. The Irelands reportedly also told her college administrators they could take her to court for mental evaluations. David Ireland was particularly worried for his daughter “because of my family history of mental health,” noting cousins who had committed suicide, he said in court documents.
According to the Enquirer, the Irelands insisted in court that they were looking out for their only daughter’s best interests, trying to keep her from ruining her chance at success with what they considered risky behaviors. Julie Ireland told the judge:
“She’s an only child who was catered to all her life by loving parents. We’re not bothering her. We’re not a problem.”
The Star wrote a story about Aubrey in April 2009 when the then-senior at Blue Valley North High School became one of 10 girls — out of more than 700 who auditioned — accepted into the freshman class of the musical theater program at the Cincinnati school.
The conservatory is considered one of the top programs of its kind in the country, known for molding students who go on to find work in New York theater.
Growing up in Johnson County, Aubrey was known as a triple threat in local theater circles: She could act, sing and dance.
“I tried everything as a kid,” she told The Star after getting accepted into the conservatory.
She grew up playing softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball and tennis; she also took piano lessons and played flute in elementary school. She started at age 2½ in classes with the Gant Sisters and at age 3 at Miller-Marley School of Dance and Voice.
“I thought she should get to try everything she wanted to,” her mother, Julie, told The Star in 2009.
Aubrey sang in the choir at Church of the Nativity for many years and cut her acting teeth by participating in repertory theater, school plays and forensics at Blue Valley North.
While a freshman at North, she spent months collecting band instruments for a Mississippi school devastated by Hurricane Katrina. She traveled to the school three times to deliver more than $15,000 worth of donated trombones, flutes, saxophones, cellos, drums and other instruments she had collected.
“I was just shocked about the devastation,” she said then. “Kids down there just don’t even get the chance to do what I am doing.”
Because of that work, she was recognized as one of the top youth volunteers in Kansas in 2009 in the 14th annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
She’s made a name for herself at school at Cincinnati, too, where she reportedly has made the Dean’s List every quarter. In October, she was nominated for a League of Cincinnati Theatres lead actress award for her work in the conservatory’s production of “Chess.”
When Aubrey’s issues with her parents became known to school officials, they hired security guards to keep them out of her shows, the Enquirer reported.
When she cut off all contact with them, they stopped paying her tuition, the Enquirer reported, and the conservatory gave Aubrey a full scholarship for her last year.
A judge in Cincinnati ruled on Dec. 10 that because Aubrey Ireland is an adult, she is allowed to live her life as she chooses. David and Julie Ireland, the newspaper reported, must stay at least 500 feet away from their daughter and have no contact with her until at least Sept. 23, 2013.
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