American socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein (née Périsset; born September 7, 1940) is famous for her catlike appearance thanks to extensive plastic surgery, for her high-profile divorce from billionaire art dealer and businessman Alec Wildenstein in 1999, and for her lavish lifestyle and subsequent bankruptcy filing.
In the first year of her marriage to Alec Wildenstein, a French-born, American-raised art dealer, racehorse owner, businessman, and heir to a billion-dollar fortune, Wildenstein began her journey with an eye lift.
She told him that his eyes were looking baggy, and he remembered that in 1998 when he was interviewed for Vanity Fair. So the couple decided to get facelifts. And from there it all began: “I don’t think I’ve known her when she wasn’t healing from anything,” a buddy chimed in.
Even before his untimely death in 2008, Alec and a few of Jocelyn’s other pals had begun to wonder if she was intentionally trying to pass as a lynx (she has one for a pet).
She Told Vanity Fair
“The lynx has amazing eyes,” but implied her facial dimensions were at least somewhat natural, saying, “If I show you images of my grandmother, what you see is these eyes – cat eyes and high cheekbones.”
Wildenstein, a Swiss of modest means who was later ferried between Paris and Africa, met Alec in 1977. The couple settled down with two kids, and life seemed to be going smoothly until the late ’90s when Jocelyn’s plastic surgery journey took an unexpected turn.
A year later, they ran away together, and their lavish lifestyle quickly became urban legend: in 1998, she estimated that the couple would spend an average of $1 million every month.
In 1998, a close acquaintance of the couple told PEOPLE that “they were a secretive couple.” “They were exceedingly reserved, and their circle of friends was small. Instead of socializing with the elite of New York, Jocelyn managed her vast African ranch, Ol Jogi, as well as a French château and a Caribbean hideaway.”
After raising their children together, Alec filed for divorce from his wife in April 1997. Jocelyn stated that she discovered Alec in bed with a 21-year-old Russian model named Yelena Jarikova on September 3 of that year. Alec was accused of making terroristic threats against his ex-wife with a firearm, as reported by The New York Times.
The 7th of September, 1940 finds Jocelyn Périsset entering the world in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her dad was an employee at a sporting goods shop. The Swiss film producer Cyril Piguet, who oversaw the 1964 release of Un commerce tranquille, began dating her when she was just 17 years old.
She later moved to Paris with Sergio Gobbi, an Italian-French filmmaker. During that time, she honed her hunting and flying skills to perfection.
During a shooting weekend at the Wildenstein African ranch “Ol Jogi,” Périsset was introduced to Alec N. Wildenstein, of the affluent family of renowned art dealers, by Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. Périsset and Wildenstein wed in their 30s, and the couple eventually produced two children.
Jocelyn Wildenstein’s Wealth
Upon her divorce from Alec Wildenstein in 1999, she became one of the wealthiest women in the United States. She reportedly received a £2 million divorce settlement plus £80 million in annual maintenance.
For the time being, she is making her home in the Trump Towers, owned by the unconventional US President, where apartments go for around £10 million.
After her ex-husband stopped paying maintenance in December, Wildenstein could hardly afford food.
Jody Wildenstein declared bankruptcy this year (2018). She reported $16 million in assets and $6 million in liabilities in the petition.
She stated that she had fallen far behind on her $4.5 million mortgage since her main source of income was a $900 social security monthly.
It was reported in 2017 that Jocelyn Wildenstein had re-listed her massive New York City condominium for $11 million. She put the home on the market 8 months ago for $13 million.
The property has a library, private elevators, five bedrooms, and 5,200 square feet of living space on Manhattan’s East River. The residence, which is located on the 51st story of the Trump World Tower, is actually an amalgamation of three previously independent units.