Business Irish

Sunday 17 November 2019

Love and cash make the world go round

The boyfriends, the girlfriends, the wives, the husbands, the break-ups, the make-ups – could love be the reason we're all out grafting, asks Roisin Burke

Adam Clayton and Mariana Teixeira De Carvalho
Adam Clayton and Mariana Teixeira De Carvalho
Mairead Farrell and her son Dara
Graham Norton
Olivia Gaynor Long
Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki
Claudine Keane with husband Robbie Keane
Caroline Downey

Roisin Burke

IT was a turbulent year for some relationships among the megawealthy, with both big, lavish weddings and dramatic partings of ways.

Adam Clayton got hitched – twice, but to the same woman: gorgeous Brazilian gallery director Mariana Teixeira De Carvalho. They had a big, white wedding celebration at a French chateau, having had a small, secret ceremony in Dublin a fortnight earlier.

Heiress Christina Grimm and Gavin O'Reilly married sumptuously at St Bride's Church in London in September with a reception in their luxurious Chelsea home. The head of music management giant The Agency and stunning blonde Christina have been together for five years and have two children. It's Gavin's second bite of the wedding cake – he was married to former Bond girl Alison Doody until 2006.

Fashion designer Lucy Nagle (who once dated Dermot Desmond's son Brett) married Cork developer Ken Rohan's son Jamie last year at a small, intimate affair with 300 guests at the family's Meath stud farm.

Ken's missus Brenda McManus has fashion world pedigree – she was a feted model in the Sixties.

Hopefully sport's golden couple are out of the rough and headed up the aisle. Following a dodgy dossier of newspaper reports that they were heading for a break-up, on New Year's Eve tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki tweeted a picture of a giant €125,000 sparkler and announced her engagement to golf champion Rory McIlroy. Take that, showbiz hacks.

There are make-ups but also break-ups.

Graham Norton and ex-boyfriend Trevor split, and a tabloid tell-all followed, with Patterson claiming the telly star drank up to four bottles of wine a night and sometimes slept in his dogs' basket.

"There were four of us in the relationship," he complained, referring to Norton's labradoodle Bailey and terrier cross Madge as the gooseberries in question.

Longtime entertainment industry power couple Denis Desmond and Caroline Downey also broke up, with Downey claiming she discovered he had had an affair years previously.

They continue to run MCD, their music gig and entertainment venue empire, together. Downey is heavily involved with the ISPCC, Childline and other charities, raising e39m for good causes to date. She featured as a judge in TV3's Celebrity Apprentice last autumn.

Not just a pretty face with a hot figure, footballer Robbie Keane's missus Claudine Keane has moved from a career as a lingerie model into property investment. "I buy and sell houses," she told one newspaper. "I bought four houses in Portugal, turned them all over and sold them to football players."

Also thriving in business is former Monaco resident Olivia Gaynor Long. When Olivia wanted to bail out struggling private members' club Residence, her husband Brian Long (who is one of Ireland's canniest technology investors with an e80m fortune) told her she was mad. She did it anyway – and it turned a profit last year for the first time, and is more popular than ever.

A regular at his side at glamorous Monaco galas, sometimes pictured with Princess Charlene or Prince Albert, is Michael Smurfit's gorgeous Russian girlfriend Yana Melnikova. She's an avid showjumper and also owns racehorses. The 30- something has been with septuagenarian Smurfit for almost a decade.

Broadcaster girlfriend Mairead Farrell is clearly still smitten with her property tycoon boyfriend Louis Ronan jnr, tweeting about stocking up on Valentine's Day goodies last month. As well as being Ray D'Arcy's right-hand woman on his radio show, Farrell hosts Ireland's Fittest Family and is involved in a host of other TV projects.

Two wives of the wealthy enjoy literary pursuits – tech investor and former Dragon Sean O'Sullivan's other half Tish Durkin has written for Rolling Stone and has a new novel due to be published this year, while ex-U2 accountant Paul McGuinness's wife Kathy is a writer and a director of Lilliput press.

And others follow creative pursuits, too. Hilary Weston's private Florida gallery has collaborated with the prestigious White Chapel gallery on shows including a recent London exhibition of work by iconic artist Jasper Johns. The wife of Selfridges and Brown Thomas billionaire Galen Weston is also closely involved with the Canadian Ireland fund, which she founded in the Seventies.

And what of the husbands of this year's Rich List moneybags?

Former Duran Duran tour manager Don Burton relocated from his native Canada with his wife, The Voice star Dolores O'Riordan, so she could film the show here. The couple and their children have swapped a luxury cabin home in remote Buckhorn Southern Ontario for ex-Anglo boss David Drumm's old neighbourhood, Abbington, north Dublin.

Orla Kiely's husband Dermott Rowan is the commercial force behind the booming homewares and fashion empire as managing director and co-owner of their business.

Irish Independent

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