Today, a seriously good old-fashioned scandalous divorce trial hits the courts so I’m hightailing it downtown to LA County court to watch the unfolding. It’s Getty versus Getty as Jacqui Getty seeks divorce from her husband of 10 years, the filthy, rich and filthy-rich Gordon Peter Getty, known as Peter, whose father Gordon is worth $2.5 billion. Jacqui reveals a scenario ripped from an episode of Cops, except it takes place in several mansions instead of a double-wide or stucco suburban split level:
domestic violence including Peter’s breaking of Jacqui’s arm;
Peter’s cocaine abuse and use of other drugs;
Peter’s online porn addiction;
Peter’s extra-marital affairs.
Jacqui seeks a restraining order, claiming in addition to inflicting physical injuries, Peter threatened to have her killed. Here’s the back story that takes this sordid tale out of the trailer park and into the glamour zone.
Jacqui de La Fontiane was a working-class teenager, pregnant with daughter Gia when her boyfriend and baby’s father, Gian-Carlo Coppola–son of Francis Ford Coppola–was killed in a boating accident. The Academy Award-winning director took care of Jacqui and Gia, incorporating them into his family, buying a house for them in the Hollywood Hills. He even walked Jacqui down the aisle when she married Peter Getty.
Wow! Single mom with cool career– Jacqui worked as a film and video costumer and a fashion stylist for “Harper’s Bazaar”–marries super-rich guy with arty aspirations. How fairy-tale perfect! At one point Getty had his own band and had written an opera when he was still in his twenties; he also occasionally wrote a music blog under a pseudonym. Her celebrity friends Leo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore were in frequent attendance at her stylish parties. Her filmmaking family included Sofia Coppola (Francis’s daughter), Jason Schwartzman (son of Francis’s sister Talia Shire) and Nicolas (Coppola) Cage. Peter loved being included in the tight-knit clan–who wouldn’t relish watching Nic sing “Sister Christian” on Francis’s karaoke machine at Gia’s pre-teen birthday party? On his own, Peter had–well, cousin Balthazar, arty aspirations, and what appears to be in retrospect a rather substantial appetite for partying.
During the marriage, Peter founded a record label, Emperor Norton, which had some nepotistic success, releasing the soundtracks to Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation before shuttering. But mostly his life was filled with people trying to get their hands on his money in one way or another. He always seemed a prisoner of his dazzling last name.
Then in June 2009 Peter decided he wanted to make another dream come true: He wanted to be a real blogger, so Peter and his brother Billy began writing a column for the “San Francisco Chronicle”’s SFGate. Within hours of publication, Peter Getty got into an embarrassing online feud with Gawker which rightfully called out the Brothers Getty on their self-entitled, self-indulgent wankery.
Peter Getty caved to Gawker’s jabs and jibes, trying to make nice after experiencing just a couple days of cyber snarking. Truly, the Getty columns for SFGate were tragic, unfunny, puerile. And they lasted a mere two months. When the brothers started writing the blog, “What the Butler Didn’t See,” Peter claimed he found
real work. . . wearisome.
Like when he ran a record label, Getty seemed to come to the conclusion that jobs–even blogging ones–are um. . . work.
And maybe there’s something else problematic and destroying of potential here, aside from just being rich and not needing to earn a living: Peter Getty’s admitted drug use, which is a key point in the divorce trial, since it may form the foundation for his alleged online porn addiction, the extra-marital affairs and the domestic violence.
More to come. . . .