I didn't marry for money, says ex-model Alisa Thiry in £40m divorce
Alisa Thiry, the former model, has spoken for the first time about her 'difficult and painful' £40m divorce from her husband, Didier
A FORMER model at the centre of a £40 million divorce battle with her husband has criticised “offensive” suggestions that she “made a career out of marrying for money”.
Alisa Thiry, a 49-year-old former fashion editor at Elle, said taking her husband, Didier, a Belgian hotelier and property tycoon, to court had been “a difficult and painful experience”.
Before she married Mr Thiry, 52, who was then worth an estimated £8 million, Mrs Thiry won an eight-figure settlement during her 2004 divorce from her first husband, Stephen Marks, the owner of French Connection and father of her three children.
But, speaking on Saturday for the first time, she stressed that she had only flourished through “being a successful journalist and businesswoman”.
Mr Justice Newton this week ordered Mr Thiry to be jailed for four months for “flagrant” contempt of court after he refused to disclose information. On Friday, he refused to return to London.
After her husband gave an interview to The Telegraph on Saturday, Mrs Thiry released a statement, complaining about “misleading statements” over the case and accusing those who have spoken out so far of having “an obvious axe to grind”.
Mr Justice Newton, sitting in the High Court family division, ordered Mr Thiry to be jailed for failing to disclose information about a £13.8 million loan allegedly made to one of Mr Thiry’s companies by his wife.
The loan, which Mrs Thiry claims was never paid off, was described in court as “part of very complex financial arrangements between husband and wife”.
Mrs Thiry’s statement, released by her solicitors, refers to her husband as “Mr Thiry”. She complained that coverage of the divorce had been “hugely intrusive”, saying that she had read newspaper reports with “great sadness and frustration”.
“I hope now that all sections of the press will respect our privacy, and that none of the newspapers will seek to capitalise further on this difficult situation by publishing further salacious and inaccurate comments,” she said.
She also warned newspapers from “repeating the offensive suggestion that despite being a successful journalist and businesswoman I have somehow made a career out of marrying for money.”
Mrs Thiry added that she “derived no pleasure at all” from the judge’s decision to penalise her husband for contempt. “Mr Thiry deliberately chose not to attend the hearing, either himself or with his legal representatives, which was itself a last chance for him to comply with the repeated orders of the court,” she said.
Her comments came after her husband told The Telegraph: “I can’t come to London. You don’t know what it is for me not to go to London and be condemned to jail.”
Mr Thiry, renowned in Belgium for his boutique art deco hotel in Brussels, claimed that the judge’s ruling would thwart his ambitions to expand his hotel and restaurant business in Britain. “I can’t go there with my staff or anything,” he said.
Tom Rowley, Telegraph.co.uk