| 10.5°C Dublin

Emma Waldron: I never dated ex-Google chief Eric Schmidt

Close

BORN TO BE ‘WILDE’: Businesswoman Emma Waldron says tech titan Eric Schmidt is an investor in her new website. Photo: Kieran Harnett

BORN TO BE ‘WILDE’: Businesswoman Emma Waldron says tech titan Eric Schmidt is an investor in her new website. Photo: Kieran Harnett

BORN TO BE ‘WILDE’: Businesswoman Emma Waldron says tech titan Eric Schmidt is an investor in her new website. Photo: Kieran Harnett

Businesswoman and former Miss Ireland Emma Waldron has denied rumours that she and ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt were ever an item.

Instead, she says the tech titan is an investor in her new company, Wilde, a website which rates representation and inclusion of women and minorities in movies and television. The New York Post reported that Schmidt and Waldron were pictured with health expert Dr Oz and pop singer Paula Abdul at the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Gala in May.

Over the summer they were also at an event attended by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Waldron made the connection through a friend who works with both Pelosi and presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Schmidt's romantic exploits have been breathlessly reported in the US - the New York Post noted that "although he is still married, he is definitely New York's hottest bachelor" but Waldron says their friendship was always purely platonic: "We're just friends, but I think what's so interesting is that if that were a man investing in another man's company we wouldn't even be having this conversation. It would be presumed to be a business decision. I think, instead, we should be saying: here is a young, female entrepreneur and isn't that wonderful?"

Since winning the Miss Ireland competition in 2010, the now 30-year-old's career saw her represent the country at Miss World, where she was ranked fourth on the back of some virtuoso violin playing and intelligent interview answers. Her total points at that time eclipsed all previous Irish contestants.

After that, the Celbridge native trained to be a schoolteacher and blogged for a while, but in 2015, hoping to jump-start her modelling career, she moved to New York on an O1 visa - for immigrants of extraordinary ability. Kerry-born fashion designer Don O'Neill was among those who wrote letters in support of her. Since moving to Manhattan she has been establishing herself in the modelling world, and has worked with some of the biggest names in television, including broadcasting legend Larry King, on whose History Channel show she was a roving reporter. After that, she also worked on another television show with Ariana Grande's brother, Frankie.

Two years ago, she told the Sunday Independent that she had fallen in love with an American man. That was believed to have been Nicholas Burch, the son of fashion designer Tory Burch. Emma says they have now split, but remain good friends. Chris Burch, a financier and ex-husband of Tory, is another investor in Emma's new website. "It aggregates content from different networks, validates that it is female-friendly with our Wilde rating, and allows women to shop what they see," Emma explains.

Sunday Independent