Booking.com

Harvey Weinstein’s English rose and a VERY thorny comeback

UK News

So what must it be like to be the ex-wife of Hollywood's most hated predator — and the mother of his two youngest children? Friends say that Georgina Chapman, 43, 'does not want to be seen as a victim'. That right she reserves for others

So what must it be like to be the ex-wife of Hollywood's most hated predator — and the mother of his two youngest children? Friends say that Georgina Chapman, 43, 'does not want to be seen as a victim'. That right she reserves for others

So what must it be like to be the ex-wife of Hollywood’s most hated predator — and the mother of his two youngest children? Friends say that Georgina Chapman, 43, ‘does not want to be seen as a victim’. That right she reserves for others

The restaurant Bedford 234 prides itself on its ‘comfortable yet engaging atmosphere’, avocado fries and strozzapreti with pecorino and winter black truffle.

But the presence last summer of one particular regular customer provoked outrage among the moneyed clientele of this upstate New York dining spot.

Harvey Weinstein — convicted last week of sexual assault and rape in the third degree by a Manhattan court — was that customer. 

He would often arrange to meet ex-wife Georgina Chapman plus their children Dashiell, six and India, nine, there.

The eaterie is near to the large farm in Bedford — a town populated by stars such as Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ryan Reynolds — which Georgina bought last year, after reportedly receiving nearly £15 million in a divorce settlement in 2018. Weinstein was renting a house nearby.

Manager Kyle O’Connor said: ‘What he would do is he had people come in first — his family, ex-wife, they would come in, sit down, order food, and he’d join a half-hour later. He might have tipped all right, but [customers] around him were disappearing. He made everyone uncomfortable.’ 

He was asked not to return.

Now, following a landmark three-week trial, Weinstein is awaiting a sentencing hearing. His disgrace is on an epic scale. More than 80 women have said he abused them.

So what must it be like to be the ex-wife of Hollywood’s most hated predator — and the mother of his two youngest children?

Friends say that Georgina, 43, ‘does not want to be seen as a victim’. That right she reserves for others. 

In the first five months after he was exposed, she scarcely dared to leave her apartment — she feared that having any kind of public profile might seem disrespectful to his victims.

Fresh start: Georgina on holiday in St Tropez. She met Weinstein at a party in 2004, and had a tiny role in 2006's Factory Girl, produced by Miramax, the company he co-founded. Weinstein split from first wife Eve in 2004 — she had been his assistant. They have three daughters, the youngest of whom was only two at the time of the divorce

Fresh start: Georgina on holiday in St Tropez. She met Weinstein at a party in 2004, and had a tiny role in 2006's Factory Girl, produced by Miramax, the company he co-founded. Weinstein split from first wife Eve in 2004 — she had been his assistant. They have three daughters, the youngest of whom was only two at the time of the divorce

Fresh start: Georgina on holiday in St Tropez. She met Weinstein at a party in 2004, and had a tiny role in 2006’s Factory Girl, produced by Miramax, the company he co-founded. Weinstein split from first wife Eve in 2004 — she had been his assistant. They have three daughters, the youngest of whom was only two at the time of the divorce

She has undergone therapy to try to cope with her sense of shock and shame. 

‘I was so humiliated and broken that I didn’t think it was respectful to go out,’ she said.

She has also had to fight hard to remain in business — she is the co-founder of designer fashion label Marchesa — as her association with Weinstein, to whom she was married from 2007, has threatened to derail her career.

And not only has she remained in business, she produces four collections a year and has branched out into childrenswear.

Some thought that she might lend her support at his trial, but she chose to stay away.

His lawyers tried to paint a picture of her as a part of his family, with attorney Donna Rotunno saying: ‘They are divorced but they work well together with the kids.’

She added that the children ‘rely’ on their father ‘on a daily basis’, noting: ‘He’s been seeing the younger kids their whole lives. They live next door to each other, he has a great relationship with [them].’

But Georgina’s friends say things are by no means ‘cosy’ between them. 

‘It’s a little damper than has been indicated,’ says one. He did not, for one thing, live ‘next door’.

Georgina has not been among those visiting Weinstein at the suite in Bellevue Hospital following his conviction. In fact, she left the country with her children before the trial.

The Mail has also learned that she is ready to officially confirm a romance with the American actor Adrien Brody, whom she has been dating for several months.

He and Georgina are ‘very happy’, and I’m told the new romance is a ‘positive’ element in the new life she has been building.

Adrien, 46, an Oscar winner himself, seems to be everything Weinstein was not — charming, discreet and self-deprecating.

Romance blossomed after they met at the launch of Helena Christensen’s swimwear range last April. They were spotted having dinner together in New York in autumn.

It was said she wasn’t interested in dating post-Harvey, but she has found that Adrien has been a source of support.

With a new man in her life — and a determination to not be brought down by the sins of her ex-husband — Georgina is embracing a new beginning.

The British model and former actress, who attended Kate Middleton’s alma mater Marlborough College, was born into money.

In the first five months after he was exposed, she scarcely dared to leave her apartment — she feared that having any kind of public profile might seem disrespectful to his victims. She has undergone therapy to try to cope with her sense of shock and shame

In the first five months after he was exposed, she scarcely dared to leave her apartment — she feared that having any kind of public profile might seem disrespectful to his victims. She has undergone therapy to try to cope with her sense of shock and shame

In the first five months after he was exposed, she scarcely dared to leave her apartment — she feared that having any kind of public profile might seem disrespectful to his victims. She has undergone therapy to try to cope with her sense of shock and shame

Her father Brian Chapman is a multi-millionaire who founded the Percol coffee brand. He has houses in Wimbledon and on the Isle of Wight.

Her mother, Caroline Wonfor, worked for Reader’s Digest. They are divorced, and Caroline lives in Richmond.

Georgina boarded at St David’s in Ashford, Surrey. She has dyslexia, but this was not diagnosed until she was eight.

She also suffered from a hip defect which gave her pigeon toes.

‘I was incredibly clumsy, and it set me back at school socially,’ she said.

‘I was always that kid who was the last to be picked for any sport as I couldn’t do it.’ 

She left school to model aged 17, then decided to go into acting. She had roles in the 2003 TV adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s Sons And Lovers, and in Julian Fellowes’s film adaptation of P. G. Wodehouse’s Piccadilly Jim.

She met Weinstein at a party in 2004, and had a tiny role in 2006’s Factory Girl, produced by Miramax, the company he co-founded.

Weinstein split from first wife Eve in 2004 — she had been his assistant. They have three daughters, the youngest of whom was only two at the time of the divorce.

At first, there was panic about how Eve might take the news of Harvey’s very young girlfriend. Georgina is 24 years his junior.

Journalists were phoned and offered access in perpetuity to ‘every party Harvey threw’ in return for killing a story about their romance.

It was said that Georgina’s mother, in particular, had doubts about her dating Weinstein, already infamous in the film business as a swaggering bully.

Georgina had taken a foundation course at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, and in 2004 she and best friend Keren Craig rented a studio to make clothes. They called their fledgling label Marchesa after Marchesa Luisa Casati, an Italian heiress.

Quickly, a series of useful associations fell into place. Swarovski sponsored Marchesa, they met with the Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe, and Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon gave them advice on getting their clothes on the red carpet.

In November 2004 Renee Zellweger wore a Marchesa dress to the UK premiere of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Zellweger said: ‘This is a new British designer, it’s Marchesa. It’s weighted and hand-embroidered. I just love it so much.’ The fact that the producer’s girlfriend had made the gown may just have ignited her enthusiasm.

After Renee, the department store Neiman Marcus offered to stock Marchesa and help the company create a diffusion line. Georgina moved to New York.

The speed with which Marchesa was a success raised some eyebrows. In 2006, the Los Angeles Times published an article titled ‘The Harvey Factor?’ which observed: ‘Competitors complain that Marchesa dresses are worn on the red carpet because the stars — and their agents, managers and lawyers — need to please the powerful Weinstein. Say the word ‘Marchesa’ and publicists groan.’

Naturally, Weinstein — who married Georgina in December 2007 at his waterfront Connecticut estate before a star-studded crowd that included Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz and Renee Zellweger — was among the first investors in the nascent business.

The New York Times reported that he made ‘timely contributions in amounts the company would not disclose’. 

The Mail has also learned that she is ready to officially confirm a romance with the American actor Adrien Brody, above, whom she has been dating for several months. He and Georgina are 'very happy', and I'm told the new romance is a 'positive' element in the new life she has been building

The Mail has also learned that she is ready to officially confirm a romance with the American actor Adrien Brody, above, whom she has been dating for several months. He and Georgina are 'very happy', and I'm told the new romance is a 'positive' element in the new life she has been building

The Mail has also learned that she is ready to officially confirm a romance with the American actor Adrien Brody, above, whom she has been dating for several months. He and Georgina are ‘very happy’, and I’m told the new romance is a ‘positive’ element in the new life she has been building

Another primary backer was a good friend of Weinstein’s — Giuseppe Cipriani. Here the story of Marchesa takes a darker turn, for it was at Cipriani’s New York bar Socialista in 2007 that journalist Lauren Sivan encountered Weinstein.

She had dinner with Cipriani and Weinstein before the producer suggested he show her the restaurant downstairs and then cornered her — and masturbated into a plant pot.

Ms Sivan described Cipriani’s restaurants as Weinstein’s ‘hunting ground’. At least three allegations of assault by Weinstein took place at properties owned by Cipriani.

But with Cipriani’s money, and Weinstein’s encouragement, the Marchesa brand became popular.

Cate Blanchett wore a Marchesa mini to the Rome premiere of The Aviator, while Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and Diane Kruger also graced the red carpet in its gowns. The label was named Red Carpet Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2007.

Not every actress, however, was biddable when it came to supporting Weinstein’s wife. Actress Jessica Chastain says she was asked to wear Marchesa to the premiere of The Weinstein Company’s 2014 film The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby. She refused, opting for Versace instead.

Harvey Weinstein later chided her when introducing her at an event.

‘He actually told the audience, ‘If I had to get in a boxing ring with Muhammad Ali or Jessica Chastain, I would choose Muhammad Ali,’ ‘ Chastain said.

On October 5, 2017, as Georgina Chapman was at New York Bridal Week presenting Marchesa’s latest collection, The New York Times published its exposé accusing Weinstein of paying off sexual harassment accusers for decades.

Upmarket jewellery retailer Helzberg Diamonds cancelled a planned collaboration with Marchesa and its ready-to-wear show was also canned.

Georgina released a statement which ran: ‘My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband.’

In the immediate aftermath, things looked bleak. #BoycottMarchesa began trending on Twitter.

A New York fashion publicist was quoted as saying: ‘No star is ever going to want to wear the brand again.’

Friend and model Karen Elson said that people assumed Georgina must have been aware of her husband’s abuse. 

In an interview, Karen said: ‘She must have known’ is what so many people say at dinner parties. The thing that pains me is that when anyone finds out I know George, that’s the first thing they say. Like she is somehow responsible for his hideous behaviour.

The British model and former actress, who attended Kate Middleton's alma mater Marlborough College, was born into money. Her father Brian Chapman is a multi-millionaire who founded the Percol coffee brand. Georgina is pictured above last year

The British model and former actress, who attended Kate Middleton's alma mater Marlborough College, was born into money. Her father Brian Chapman is a multi-millionaire who founded the Percol coffee brand. Georgina is pictured above last year

The British model and former actress, who attended Kate Middleton’s alma mater Marlborough College, was born into money. Her father Brian Chapman is a multi-millionaire who founded the Percol coffee brand. Georgina is pictured above last year

‘When I say, ‘Well, actually she didn’t know,’ it becomes this other judgment: ‘How could she not have known?’ It’s so complicated.’

Georgina gave an interview to Vogue — run by close friend Dame Anna Wintour — to try to put some distance between herself and Weinstein.

She said: ‘There was a part of me that was terribly naive. I have moments of rage, I have moments of confusion, I have moments of disbelief. And I have moments when I just cry for my children. What are their lives going to be? What are people going to say to them? It’s like, they love their dad. They love him. I just can’t bear it for them.’

She went on to claim she ‘never’ knew. ‘That’s what makes this so incredibly painful: I had what I thought was a very happy marriage. I loved my life,’ she added.

A few months later, Vogue ran a piece asking if it was time to start wearing Marchesa again.

Anna Wintour apparently suggested Scarlett Johansson wear the label to the Met Gala in 2018. Johansson obliged. 

‘It is my pleasure to support a brand created by two incredibly talented and important female designers,’ she said.

A few says later, Dame Anna told The Late Show in America: ‘Georgina is a brilliant designer and I don’t think she should be blamed for her husband’s behaviour.’

There have been other encouraging voices. 

Steven Kolb, the CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, said: ‘Scarlett wearing the dress at the Met hopefully begins to move the brand away from an unfair exile. It should have a place in our industry.’

Actress Priyanka Chopra also wore Marchesa at her New York bridal shower, noting: ‘Georgina’s a friend of mine, and it’s not her fault.’

But the A-list have yet to rush back. At this year’s Oscars, the only person to be seen in Marchesa was Heidi Klum.

Last summer, co-founder Keren Craig quit Marchesa, noting her ‘tremendous pride’ in the brand in a statement.

The New York Post noted: ‘They almost split up due to Harvey — the way he promoted only Georgina. Without Keren, Marchesa wouldn’t last two minutes.’

However, Georgina is not giving up. The brand is still stocked in the same outlets. 

The firm does not post sales or profits figures, but her people claim that business is ‘doing well’. Its daywear, bridal wear and casual wear range is also expanding.

The loss of Keren is said to be ‘nothing to do with Harvey’, but is instead because she wanted to relocate. Craig herself declines to comment.

Many in the industry wish Georgina well. One publicist observed: ‘Look, Georgina’s a survivor. If she can survive Harvey, she can survive anything.’

Additional reporting: Daniel Bates in New York

DailyMail Online


Leave a Reply