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The untold truth of the world's wealthiest husbands
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18.07.2018

The untold truth of the world's wealthiest husbands

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Everyone knows the terms "sugar daddy" and "trophy wife" as they relate to a relationship between what is usually an older, wealthy man and a younger, attractive woman. And, yes, there are plenty of examples of those kinds of courtships among society's upper class, but for the women who hold the pursestrings on some of the beefiest bank accounts in the world, this doesn't seem to be the case. When it comes right down to it, the world's wealthiest women seem to prefer guys who either come with their own loot, are at least have it together enough to be a captain of industry, a world-class philanthropist, or both. 

Patrizio Bertelli
 
While it's Miuccia Prada's name that represents her company and $2.9 billion fortune, her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, had just as much to do with building both. 
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According to Fortune Magazine, Prada and Bertelli met at a trade show in 1978 under rather dubious circumstances– Bertelli owned a leather factory that had been ripping off Prada's designs. Somehow, the two hit it off, and Prada contracted Bertelli to start manufacturing her bags. He became her business mentor and eventual romantic partner–the two wed eight years later. By 1996, their companies merged, and Bertelli assumed his new role as CEO of the Prada Group.

The pair's dynamic has long been described as Miuccia being the creative genius while Bertelli runs the business side, which is why she remained the public face and chairman of the company until 2014. That year, she decided to step down from the figurehead position to become joint CEO with Bertelli, a move that he described as more of a natural fit. "She has always been co-CEO, it was just made official," Bertelli told Vogue. "She is my right hand in this function and she is the boss in style."

Michel de Carvalho
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Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, whose name belies her $15.6 billion booze-financed fortune, may have inherited her wealth from her father, Freddy Heineken, but she was reluctant to replicate his "flamboyance in business" after his death, according to Fortune Magazine. It was her husband, actor-turned-Olympian-turned investment banker Michel de Carvalho who convinced her that she needed to step up to the plate and become the figurehead the famous brewery needed.

De Carvalho met Charlene while skiing in St. Moritz. At this point, he'd already lived a colorful life. As a teenager, he had a small role in Lawrence of Arabia, which he followed by deferring his admission to Harvard Business School to become a member of Britain's Olympic ski and luge teams in the 1969, 1972, and 1976 games. By the time he and Charlene wed in 1983, he'd moved on to become an investment banker with Credit Suisse.

After Freddy's passing, De Carvalho became an integral part of managing the brewery's empire, eventually becoming a director at the company while advising his wife, who shepherded a massive operational expansion into 32 additional countries. De Carvalho, who was the family breadwinner prior to his wife's inheritance, now claims he calls her "the boss," and that their primary focus is how to hand the company over to their five children. "If we get that wrong," he told Fortune, "We've wasted our energy on all that we've built."
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Chen Chong

Yang Huiyan became one of mainland China's youngest billionaires in 2007 when her father, real estate developer Yeung Kwok Keung, transferred 57 percent of his Country Gardens Holdings estate to her when she was just 25 years old. Back then, her shares were worth $4.9 billion. Today, they're worth $21.9 billion, according to Forbes.

The lucky fella who snagged her is Chen Chong, whom she wed in 2006, which you can watch above while enjoying a lovely cover version of All-4-One's "I Swear." Chong and Huiyan met on a blind date, so technically, he agreed to go out with her without knowing she was rich. 
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Though his education is in biology and chemistry, Chong now works for his wife's family's business. According to a Forbes bio, Chen is said to have joined the board in 2016 as a "non-executive director" who will earn a yearly salary of $55,000. We'll just go ahead and ask the obvious question here: If his wife is worth more than $20 billion, for what reason does he need the $55K?  

Charlie Williams
 
Along with her three siblings, Randa Duncan Williams owns one third of the shares of Enterprise Products, a Houston oil and gas company founded by her father, Dan Duncan. According to Bloomberg, that makes her worth $5.56 billion as of December 2017. She's married to Charlie Williams, who is also no slouch in the finance department. Like his wife, Williams also hails from a family of means, namely his grandparents, Albert and Margaret Alkek.  
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According to Inside Philanthropy, as the president of the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation, Williams has used his considerable wealth to fund medical research, as well youth leadership and conservation efforts through the family's 9,000 acre Bandera, Texas hunting spot, The Flying A Ranch.  

In a personal message on behalf of the foundation, Williams revealed that his grandfather built the family fortune from a $250 loan into "a charitable foundation with initial assets of $178 million." Williams also wrote that his grandfather "employed the same energy and focus he used in making money to giving money away." It was an example Williams used to shape his entire life path and one in which he hopes to pass on, as he expressed: "My wife, Randa Duncan Williams, and I hope to instill similar values in our son, Harrison, so that he will follow in the family's footsteps."

Chi Zhongrui
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Chinese actor, Chi Zhongrui, is best known for playing Tang Seng, a travelling Buddhist monk in the popular TV series Journey to the West. You can watch a clip of it above if you're so inclined—Yeah, the Monkey guy? Don't ask us. Anyway, Zhongrui also has the distinction of being married to one of the wealthiest women in China, Chan Laiwa, the founder of Fuwah International Group, who along with her family is worth $5.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Their 1990 marriage—that of a successful business person and a movie star, which would have seemed perfectly normal in America—was somewhat scandalous in China. According to the roughly translated ChineseMicroNews, it basically boiled down to Zhongrui being 11 years younger than Laiwa, who had already been divorced and had three children. Culturally speaking, both of those factors apparently made her an unconventional match for a popular actor, regardless of the obvious sway of her substantial bank account.

In response to the criticisms, Zhongrui reportedly said something to the effect of "time will prove everything," meaning if they make it in the long run, they will have proved their critics wrong. He even temporarily gave up his acting career to act as deputy director for Laiwa's passion project, the China Red Sandalwood Museum, before reprising his star-making role again in 2000. As of this writing, they seem to still be proving everything.  
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Jan Klatten
 
Susanne Klatten is Germany's richest woman and the billionaire heiress to the BMW fortune, who at the time of this writing, is worth an estimated $24.2 billion, according to Forbes. Born Susanne Quandt, she's the daughter of the late Johanna Quandt and Herbert Quandt, the German industrialist credited with saving the automaker from bankruptcy.

Klatten is notoriously private, and there are really only two public stories relating to her relationship with her husband, BMW engineer Jan Klatten. The first is the story of how they met, which according to some outlets, involved Susanne keeping her wealth a secret from Jan. Susanne has refuted that account, telling Spiegel Online, "This story was fictional… We were introduced when I worked in a finance department at the BMW headquarters in Munich."
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As far as we can tell, Jan has not personally spoken to the media, but he would perhaps be more inclined to do so had he not been publicly embarrassed by the second public story involving his wife: the time she reportedly had a two-month affair with a Swiss con artist in 2007. According to ABC News, the affair was a front for an extortion attempt cooked up by Helg Sgarbi, Susanne's lover, and his "accomplice," Ernano Barretta, who secretly filmed the adulterous liaisons; aided Sgarbi in swindling $10 million out of the heiress; and threatened to release photos from their encounters if she didn't pay more. Sgarbi and Barretta were eventually arrested, and Susanne and Jan remain married to this day, although we can't imagine they didn't go through a significant rough period there for a while.

Stedman Graham
 
Though she's not even on the Forbes 500 list of the world's wealthiest people, with her paltry net worth of just $2.8 billion, Oprah Winfrey makes this list because of the curiosity surrounding her relationship with longtime "spiritual partner" Stedman Graham. And we know, he's not technically her husband, but this is a guy who's had to live in the public eye as Oprah's not-husband for so long, he's even had to address it in the media.  
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In 2012, Graham told CBS, "People put me in the box, you know; they define me by who she is, and she's a wonderful person and great woman, but that's not—I'm not Oprah." His billionaire boo echoed the sentiment to Vogue when she said that marriage was not on the table for the couple because the relationship would have failed if they tried to conform to traditional marriage roles. 

So, what exactly does Graham even do, you may be asking? Well, kind of a lot, actually. According to his bio given to interviewer Natalie Brown, Graham is the author of ten books; the creator of his own nine-step leadership instructional guide; the founder of AAD Education, a non-profit that pairs athletes and local officials who mentor "underserved youth;" a member of more philanthropic boards and foundations than we can list; as well as "a distinguished visiting professor at several colleges and universities throughout the country." It's an impressive resume for anyone, let alone the guy who gets a bad rap as being a loafer on Oprah's couch. Remember that next time you're going to crack a joke about Stedman walking Oprah's dogs or making her breakfast in bed. If he does any of that, it's clearly because he wants to, not because he has to.


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