A successful law career, converting to Islam to marry a prince… and a decade-long divorce battle: The fascinating background behind Porsche billionaire’s new love as he divorces his wife due to ‘dementia symptoms’
- Wolfgang Porsche, 79, is understood to have moved in with Princess Gabriele of Leiningen, 59, after the pair enjoyed a holiday in the Maldives together
- MailOnline charts Gabriele’s colourful life including marriages to two princes
The billionaire Porsche executive who is reportedly divorcing his wife after she was diagnosed with dementia has now moved in with his new girlfriend – a former princess who has been a close friend for almost 25 years.
Wolfgang Porsche, 79, is understood to have moved in with 59-year-old Princess Gabriele of Leiningen after they enjoyed a Maldives holiday together in January.
It emerged earlier this week that the car tycoon had filed for divorce from his wife Claudia, 74, due to changes in her behaviour after she was diagnosed with dementia two years ago, sources close to the couple said.
As the billionaire and former princess are said to be spending more time together, Wolfgang is just one of many eyebrow raising acquaintances Gabriele has been associated with over the years throughout her colourful life.
Also known as Princess Inaara Aga Khan, Gabriele was once a consultant to UNESCO advising on women’s equality, converted to Islam before her marriage to a prince, and had to auction off her jewellery collection after their decade-long divorce battle.
Pictured: Princess Gabriele of Leiningen, who is reported to have struck up a relationship with billionaire Porsche executive – Wolfgang Porsche – amid his on-going divorce from his wife Claudia, who is understood to be suffering from dementia
Wolfgang Porsche (centre) is pictured holding the hand of his wife, Claudia Hübner, with long-time friend Gabriele Prinzessin zu Leiningen on his left. They are all pictured together in München, Germany, February 2018. Reports say Porsche and Gabriele are now living together
Originally from Frankfurt, Gabriele was born in 1963 as Gabriele Homey to entrepreneur parents – mother Renate Kerkhoff and father Helmut Friedhelm Homey.
After Helmut and Renate (who become Renate Thyssen-Henne) later divorced, she was adopted by her stepfather Bodo Thyssen – a grandson of Joseph Thyssen, another German entrepreneur – and Gabriele went on to take her stepfather’s name.
When she was younger, she attended Schloss Salem School – a boarding school partially in a castle found on Lake Constance in Germany – before attending École des Roches – another exclusive boarding school, this time in Normandy, France.
She went on to study law in both Munich and Cologne and graduated magna cum laude with a doctorate in International Law.
Gabriele spent her early career working for her mother, who was now known as Renate Thyssen-Henne, in her company which runs Austria’s largest hotel chain, and later became an associate for a German law firm.
It was in 1991 that her privileged lifestyle went up a level.
A year earlier, she met the man who would become her first husband, Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen. The Russian prince is a claimant to the now defunct throne which was held until 1917 by the Imperial House of Romanov.
The pair married in 1991 in a lavish ceremony in Venice, Italy, however the union caused some controversy within his family.
The union was considered to be unequal as Gabriele did not come from the aristocracy, which led Emich to give up his right to succession and pass it down to his younger brother, Andreas, 8th Prince of Leiningen.
A year after they married, the couple welcomed their daughter, and Gabriele became a consultant for the UN’s cultural agency – UNESCO – advising on the promotion of equality and improved conditions for women.
Prince Karl’s decision to sacrifice his title was not enough to hold their marriage together. By 1998 they had gone their separate ways, and it would not be long before she was married to her second prince.
Her first marriage was to Prince Karl-Emich zu Leiningen who claims to be the heir to the now defunct Russian Throne. Pictured: Gabriele (left) is seen with Spanish King Juan Carlos (centre) and Prince Karl-Emich zu Leiningen (right) in an old, undated newspaper photograph
A year after she married for a second time, couple Gabriele welcomed her second daughter, and in the same year became a consultant for the UN’s cultural agency – UNESCO – advising on the promotion of equality and improved conditions for women
On 30 May in the same year her divorce from her first husband was finalised, Gabriele wed then Prince Karim Aga Khan, who went on to become Aga Khan IV, the Imam of Shia Ismaili Muslims around the world. He is a billionaire known for his philanthropic work and he claims to be a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed.
The wedding took place at the groom’s country home outside Paris, France, and was overseen by Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Paris Mosque who remains in post today.
Despite a 26-year age gap – with Gabriele being 35 and the Aga Khan 61 at the time – photos showed the couple looking happier than ever on their wedding day, with the bride dressed in a lace gown with a lace veil.
The Aga Khan IV is the son of Prince Aly Khan, an Pakistani diplomat of Iranian and Italian descent. In the 1940s, he had been married to original Hollywood pin-up Rita Hayworth, and has held the title of Aga Khan since 1957.
The Aga Khan IV lived a significantly quieter life than his flamboyant father after being born in Switzerland and living in France for much of his life.
Ahead of her second marriage, Gabriele converted to Islam and chose the Muslim name Inaara. Following her nuptials, she became known as Inaara Aga Khan.
In 2000, the couple welcomed their son, Prince Aly Muhammad Aga Khan, but by 2004 they announced they were seeking a divorce – making Aha Khan the second prince Gabriele would separate from during her lifetime.
At the time of the split, the mother-of-two alleged her husband had had an affair after she hired a private investigator to track him as he travelled around the world, the Telegraph reports.
The divorce became an epic and bitter 10 year battle which first began in UK courts but moved across the channel to France when the case in Britain collapsed.
Initially, a French court awarded Gabriele £10.3 million, but in 2011 a higher court raised the figure to £54 million. While Aga Khan disputed the settlement, experts who had predicted he may have to pay his ex-wife half a billion thought he had got off lightly.
By 2014, a decade after they first separated, the couple finalised their divorce with an undisclosed financial settlement.
While lawyers for each party refused to disclose the final settlement, reports suggest it was around the £54 million mark set by the court in 2011.
Despite receiving this huge windfall, it was announced in April 2016 that Gabriele was to auction off part of her jewellery collection through British auction house Christies – and went on sale in Geneva.
Gabriele officially took the name Inaara Aga Khan when she married Prince Karim Aga Khan in 1998 at a ceremony just outside of Paris (pictured). Ahead of her second marriage, Gabriele converted to Islam and chose the Muslim name Inaara. Following her nuptials, she became known as Inaara Aga Khan
Ahead of her second marriage, Gabriele (pictured in 1998) converted to Islam and chose the Muslim name Inaara. Following her nuptials, she became known as Inaara Aga Khan
Pictured: Inaara Aga Khan, as she was known then, attends Royal Ascot in 1998
Princess Theresa of Leiningen, her brother Aly Muhammad Prince Aga Khan, (son of Karim Aga Khan) and mother Princess Gabriele of Leiningen during the Schwarzenegger climate initiative charity dinner on January 23, 2020 in Kitzbuehel, Austria
The highlight of the auction – which included a total of 46 lots – was the Pohl Diamond, a 36.09 carat gem mounted on a ring by Cartier that was estimated at the time to fetch between $3.8million the $5.5million.
Several other items were also expected to fetch multiples of millions.
In the end, the Pohl Diamond fetched 4,309,000 Swiss Francs (almost £4m today).
More recently, Gabriele has been linked to real estate tycoon Juergen Kellerhals, with whom she has been spotted at events including the Salzburg Opera Festival in 2019.
Kellerhals is a German businessman who has founded several companies including a real estate business and two investment firms.
In July 2019, German newspaper Bild linked the pair after they had been seen together at an event months after another appearance at Oktoberfest in Munich.
Gabriele has been a committed philanthropist for much of her life. Since 1999, she has supported third-world development projects, causes fighting for women’s rights, and the improvement of living conditions.
In 2002, she became the honorary president of Focus Humanitarian Assistance which provides relief following natural and man-made disasters, and has contributed to several UNESCO projects.
With her parents, she also founded the German aid organization ‘SOS Projects for People and Animals’ to help mentally-ill, handicapped and traumatised children with the support of animals, and has been heavily involved in Germany’s fight against the HIV/AIDS virus – particularly in Germany.
She has been awarded for her charity work, and in 2007 was named as the ‘Number 1’ person of German Society by the German magazine ‘Gala’.
‘Whereas other women, following separation from their influential husbands, often disappear from society without a trace, Her Highness has catapulted from last year’s 19th position to first position. She has maintained her commitment to charitable work and stylish appearance and not said a single unkind word about her husband, the Aga Khan,’ the magazine said at the time.
Now, as Wolfgang Porsche splits from his wife Claudia, it has been reported that he is becoming closer to Gabriele. Pictures online suggest that Claudia is friends with Gabriele’s mother Renate Thyssen-Henne – suggesting there are family ties.
The German-Austrian tycoon is shareholder and chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE, as well as of Porsche AG.
He is the youngest son of former Porsche AG designer and Chief Executive Officer Ferdinand ‘Ferry’ Porsche and Dorothea Reitz. His grandfather was Ferdinand Porsche, the Austro-Bohemian founder of Porsche AG.
And now, Porsche has moved in with 59-year-old Gabriela – who is now his girlfriend, it has been claimed. The former model’s close circle of friends told Austrian media that the couple’s decision to move in together came as both of them wanted to avoid being apart from one-another.
It has not been disclosed, however, whether they have moved into Porsche’s home in Zell am See, Austria, or the princess’s luxurious villa in Munich.
It came after it emerged that Porsche has filed for divorce from Claudia, his partner of 16 years, who is known to suffer from a dementia-like illness.
More recently, Gabriele has been linked to real estate tycoon Juergen Kellerhals (right), with whom she has been spotted at events including the Salzburg Opera Festival in 2019
As Wolfgang Porsche (right) splits from his wife Claudia, it has been reported that he is becoming closer to Gabriele (left), with whom he has been friends for 25 years
Sources told BIld the billionaire finds it ‘impossible’ live with his wife as her declining health has reportedly altered her personality permanently.
Claudia, who is a grandmother, has four carers who look after her around the clock, having suffered from the illness for the last two years.
She has reportedly not been able to move independently for months and her mental awareness has undergone a rapid decline.
Wolfgang and Claudia have been together since 2007 and married in 2019. The Porsche family’s assets have been estimated at EUR 20bn (£18bn).
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