'Papa Smurf' and TV-star flame are toast of Moscow
Published 11/12/2011 | 05:00
IN Ireland he is the little-known son of Dr Michael Smurfit, but in Russia he is one of the country's hottest men -- who has captured the heart of their biggest television star.
Meet Alexander Smurfit -- or 'Papa Smurf', as he calls himself -- the dashing son of the multi-millionaire packaging tycoon, who recently brought his Playboy model girlfriend Victoria Bonya to meet his father on the grounds of the family sprawling Co Kildare estate.
And then there is also the big news that the couple are expecting a baby.
Seen here posing on the beach in Dubai, 26-year-old Alexander appears to be a chip off the old block from his wealthy father -- who was a renowned party-giver in his heyday.
Alex is the son of Dr Smurfit's second wife, a Swedish air hostess, Brigitta Beimark, with whom the tycoon lived in Monaco.
The young Smurfit heir and his glamourous girlfriend have caused a huge stir in Russia where the ups and downs of their passionate relationship are being played out in social columns.
Sources say they are close to tying the knot.
Ms Bonya, who has appeared on the covers of Playboy and Maxim magazine, began her career at 16 as a waitress in Moscow and has since gone on to become one of Russia's hottest TV stars.
Alexander, meanwhile, regularly frequents fashionable resorts, enjoys the party circuit and prior to the relationship was often seen in the company of beautiful women.
But sources say the couple have fallen "madly in love", that Victoria has finally settled the heir to the Smurfit fortune down and that marriage is on the cards. She told local media: "I love him madly."
Alexander hasn't been shy about his feelings either, and after a holiday in Dubai together he posted a long, gushing poem about his love for the beautiful socialite on his social networking page.
Entitled 'An Illusion, By Papa Smurf', it reads: "My heart is throbbing at an uncontrollable rate, while I try to grasp the little strength in me to abolish this escape."
The poem continues, "I embrace her soft and petite body. Temptation is replaced with calmness as I lose myself in the depths of serenity."
Perhaps he got his charming ways from his father, who has been linked with a number of glamourous young women including Yannah, a Russian lady variously described in gossip column dispatches as "gorgeous'', "leggy'' and "enigmatic''.
In recent weeks, Alexander brought his girlfriend to Ireland to meet his family and take in the K Club golf estate and hotel.
His father is in negotiations with the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) to buy Gerry Gannon's share of the estate.
As a source close to the couple explained: "They visited Ireland for Dr Smurfit's 75th birthday party."
She hit it off with Alex's father and the rest of the family and of course Dr Smurfit received the news that the couple are expecting a baby.
"Victoria loved the estate and had great fun during her trip to Ireland -- on the golf course, fishing and partying at night. They'll definitely be back once the baby is born."
The couple, who live in Moscow, are believed to be looking at Monaco for their wedding location.
Dr Smurfit is Ireland's honourary consul in Monaco for life -- and it is expected that Prince Albert and his new wife will attend the wedding celebrations.
Friends say the wedding will be "a spectacular affair", as the family has a long history of being excellent hosts among the jet set.
Dr Smurfit, a legendary host in his own right, has marked the milestones of his life with a certain panache.
For his 60th birthday, he brought 100 friends on a cruise around the Mediterranean, dressing for the main party in an exact replica of the uniform worn by General Patton at the Battle of the Bulge.
For his 70th, he chartered a luxury yacht and this time the party was in the Med, where the 120 guests included Michael Fingleton, Bill Cullen and builder Sean Mulryan.
As a source close to the couple explained: "You can expect the family to pull out all the stops when Alex walks down the aisle too.
"It will be a glamourous affair from both sides and will be marked with the same class and style that they've long become accustomed to."