A judge has dealt a blow to a bid by Gary Coleman's ex-wife to gain control of the late child TV star's estate.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Judge James Taylor ruled on Monday that Coleman and Shannon Price didn't have a common-law marriage, despite living together after they divorced.

Coleman died of a brain hemorrhage in 2010. Taylor is deciding whether Price or Coleman's ex-girlfriend Anna Gray is entitled to his estate.

The judge says Price moved out of Coleman's home multiple times after their 2008 divorce and the couple didn't give a public impression of marriage.

Price has said she and Coleman "couldn't be without each other", even after their divorce. Gray managed Coleman's affair for years and says Coleman named her a beneficiary and executor of his estate in 2005.

At stake is a house worth more than $US300,000 ($A302,220), intellectual rights to some of Coleman's works and the Diff'rent Strokes star's ashes.

The West Australian

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