Wednesday 17 January 2018

Petra Stunt: 'I feel wealth is almost harder than fame, when you are wealthy, people want money out of you'

Petra Ecclestone arrives at the Serpentine Gallery summer party in Kensington Gardens on July 8, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Claire Greenway/Getty Images)
Petra Ecclestone arrives at the Serpentine Gallery summer party in Kensington Gardens on July 8, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Claire Greenway/Getty Images)
Petra Ecclestone is presented flowers for her clothes collection during the Amber Fashion Show and Auction held at the Meridien Beach Plaza on May 23, 2008 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Formula One owner Bernie Ecclestone's daugter Petra (R) leaves her hotel in central Rome, on August 26, 2011. Petra will marry James Stunt, at the Odescalchi castle in Bracciano, near Rome, on August 27. AFP PHOTO/ TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
Petra Ecclestone on the Red Bull Energy Station on race day at the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Circuit on May 27, 2012 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Not so happily ever after: Petra Ecclestone married James Stunt at age 22, and is now embroiled in divorce proceedings
Petra Ecclestone, the soon-to-be-married daughter of F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, leaves a hotel in central Rome, on August 26, 2011
Petra Ecclestone and boyfriend James Stunt attend the presentation of the Petra Ecclestone menswear collection at The Corner on September 17, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Florian Seefried/Getty Images)
Petra Ecclestone (L) and Tamara Ecclestone arrives at the UK film premiere of 'The Dark Knight' at Odeon, Leicester Square on July 21, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Petra Stunt has opened up about her life in her first major interview in five years.

The billionaire daughter of former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is in the middle of a bitter divorce with husband of six years James Stunt, with a €5bn fortune at stake.

She refuses to speak about her estranged husband, whom she has three children with, and instead focused on discussing her next chapter with the Telegraph, her first sit down interview in years.

She's well aware of the public perception of her, largely cultivated by her extravagant purchases, including The Manor, a €200m home in Los Angeles and the largest residential property in the state where she lived with James until they moved to their €100m Chelsea townhouse (he was evicted from the property by a judge last week).

Not so happily ever after: Petra Ecclestone married James Stunt at age 22, and is now embroiled in divorce proceedings
Not so happily ever after: Petra Ecclestone married James Stunt at age 22, and is now embroiled in divorce proceedings

"I think people want to be able to hate me. I think that because my father is wealthy and now I am living off his money, they hate it," she told the Telegraph.

But she is trying to change the narrative and her desire for privacy can often lead to misconceptions about her personality, especially in comparison to her sister Tamara, whose €1m bathtub will go down in reality television infamy.

And she keeps her inner circle as small as possible, based on long-lasting friendships with trusted confidantes.

"I keep it really tight-knit. I don’t really let a lot of people in my life," she explained.

Petra Ecclestone, the soon-to-be-married daughter of F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, leaves a hotel in central Rome, on August 26, 2011
Petra Ecclestone, the soon-to-be-married daughter of F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, leaves a hotel in central Rome, on August 26, 2011

"I feel that wealth is almost harder than fame. When you are wealthy, people use you and they want money out of you. There is always some sort of ulterior motive. Whereas if you are famous, people are not going to become famous by being your friend.

"I just feel people become so greedy around wealth. It changes people."

Petra said her main focus remains her three children Lavinia (four) and twins James and Andrew (two), and wants to "make them proud one day" through her work with the Petra Stunt Foundation and her imitative to launch centres around England to focus on early intervention for children with autism and developmental disorders.

Her daughter has global developmental delay, which affects children who are significantly delayed in their cognitive and physical development.

Petra Ecclestone on the Red Bull Energy Station on race day at the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Circuit on May 27, 2012 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Petra Ecclestone on the Red Bull Energy Station on race day at the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Circuit on May 27, 2012 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

"I am going to make my kids proud one day. Lavinia and the boys are going to know, 'My mum did this for the country, my mum did this  for children out there'/ They are going to know  I helped someone," she said.

"My mum raised me to treat people with respect and not to judge people on wealth and background. Neither of my parents went to university. They barely went to school, so I feel I don’t judge people."

Meanwhile, it has been reported today that she is trying to get the pre-nuptial agreement she signed before her €12m wedding thrown out, but the details of the agreement have not been revealed yet.

"James suggested we organise this. Neither my father or mother had anything to do with it," she said in 2011.

"We think it’s a sensible decision. In fact, we have signed agreements to protect both my and his assets."

James, an enigmatic art dealer, is said to have amassed billions of his own, is accused of being abusive during the marriage.

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