“I don’t get propositioned by anybody as much as I used to,” says Jerry Hall
What a deliciously unlikely love match. In the glitzy corner is Jerry Hall, 59, the leggy Texan model, former partner of Mick Jagger, famous for saying ‘The more flesh you show, the higher up the ladder you go.’ In the gritty old corner is hard-nosed media titan Rupert Murdoch, 84. It’s so juicy, it’s scarcely believable. How did they get together? What on earth do they talk about? Do neither mind the 25-year age gap?
It’s all too easy to envy rich divorcées like Jerry (though, technically, her and Jagger’s 1990 Balinese wedding ceremony was declared unlawful by the High Court). With exceptional good looks, pots of cash, kids who’ve flown the nest and a career of sorts, you’d imagine there must a multitude of highly desirable men, permanently in hot pursuit.
The evergreen supermodel has certainly stepped out with a few, since splitting with her Rolling Stone in 1999 – from ‘toyboy’ hedge fund financier, Tim Attias, to property magnate Warwick Hemsley. But after her brief relationship with jet-set scientist Armand Leroi ended, earlier this year, she lamented, “I don’t get propositioned by anybody as much as I used to.”
Now here she is with Rupert Murdoch, a man with private jets galore but only six years shy of 90. <a href=”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/goodlife/11782422/Jerry-Hall-women-are-weak-about-ageing.html”>Not exactly a conventional dreamboat.
“As a famous person, finding someone who completes your jigsaw can be a tricky business,” says Mairead Molloy, global director of blue-chip dating agency Berkeley International, which charges its UK-only members a jaw-dropping £10,000 a year (throw in Europe and it’s £15,000). “You’re in a bubble – and you can’t go down to the pub without being papped, or snapped in a selfie.”
Molloy, a vicacious blonde of 46, is speaking to me from Cannes, where her agency has a ‘key’ office. You can almost hear the Champagne corks popping on the super-yachts and see the oligarchs firing up their Lamborghinis.
Having spent years matchmaking rich, mainly divorced women (most of whom are 34 to 58) with well-off males “in and around a five year age gap”, Molloy believes that if you don’t sign up with a high-end dating agency, and aren’t blessed with a wide circle of friends, single life at the top is sure to be tough. “I wish Jerry would give me a ring,” she says. “I’d help her.”
The truth is, it isn’t as easy as you might think for any wealthy woman emerging from a long marriage to find a new significant other.
A survey of 5,000 millionaire members of the dating site MillionaireMatch.com, last year, found that 70 per cent of their female members said they would never marry again, as opposed to just five per cent of men.
Given many may only be back on the market, in the first place, thanks to a cheating husband, such wariness may be understandable.
Plus, unlike men, said Fran Walfish, a Beverley Hills psychotherapist, “a woman’s ego cannot bear to tolerate a man using her for her money. She needs to know she is loved — rich or poor —flaws and all.”
Gold-digging, certainly, isn’t the preserve of one gender. Take Anna, 49, the ex-wife of a City banker, currently involved with “a kind of gigolo” with a rackety work life and a chequered history of dating rich divorcées.
“My friends warned me about him but I didn’t listen,” she says. Alone, post-divorce in her big empty house, with her two children away at university, she was initially dazzled – not by the riches, but by the attention he lavished on her. However humdrum.
“He likes watching Gogglebox and Downton with me, whereas my ex-husband, who’s more intellectual, used to storm out of the room in a rage. And he’s always giving me advice on what to wear and offering to walk the dog late at night.”
Six months in, however, the relationship is starting to sour. “I feel as if I’m the man in the relationship – he even puts his head on my shoulder – and it’s starting to really irritate me. It’s as if our roles have reversed. And he doesn’t get on with my male friends. It only works when we’re on our own.”
Then there’s Melanie, 54, another wealthy divorcée, who having briefly dated a string of younger suitors in the immediate aftermath of her divorce – “They made me feel that I wasn’t all ropey and leathery and bitter” – is now dating more “age-appropriate men”; only to find that her money intimidates them.
“I dated this lovely guy who was interested in literature and poetry, just like I am, but in the end he couldn’t cope with the fact I owned a pile in the Cotswolds without a mortgage. He found it emasculating to take a woman out who was richer than he was.”
Melanie, an elfin mother-of-four who looks years younger than her age, says the peril of being rich is that it can actually put many men off. “Men often have a pre-conceived idea about wealthy women – they think we’re too demanding – so they don’t ask us out.”
Sometimes, says ‘Lady’ Lara Asprey, 32, who runs the dating agency The Sloane Arranger, and has written a book, The Very British Rules of Dating, the men may even be right. “Rich women can, unwittingly, come across as very difficult and high maintenance,” she says.
This, clearly, isn’t Melanie’s problem. Having spent 25 years with a Midas touch spouse, holidaying in yachts in the Caribbean and luxury chalets in Klosters, she’s loving the arty new life she’s creating for herself and the men it throws in her path. “I don’t have to think about security anymore, or school fees, which means I can now cast my net much wider,” she says.
Given she doesn’t need to remarry to remain living in the manner to which she’s become accustomed, what is she looking for?
“I hate the word companion,” says Melanie. “It’s so sexless, when really I’d like to find a man I can dive into bed with. There just isn’t a word for what I want. It’s everything I’d look for in a husband, perhaps, but minus the financial security.”
But how do you find a man who isn’t a gold-digger, isn’t intimidated by you, doesn’t send you down a probably doomed cougar path (Sam Taylor-Johnson may be flourishing, but it didn’t work for Demi Moore), and isn’t too much of a financial mismatch?
Mairead Molloy, married to husband no.2, a Frenchman, prides herself on being able to spot the eligible mid-life male. “They’re sharper, crisper, edgier – in sartorial terms, very Savile Row.”
And what hope for this band of super-rich women hoping to catch such a fish in a very bijou dating pool?
“I see two categories of very wealthy women out there,” says one (equally wealthy) divorced man of 56. “There’s the rich divorcée who doesn’t work and is used to a certain way of life – she can be a little spoilt. And then there’s the professional, self-made woman who may be all hard work and no play. In all honesty, neither are an easy prospect.”