Divorce has a way of getting messy—especially for Wall Street billionaires so blasé about their multimillion-dollar assets that they can divide them up by simply flipping a coin. That was the tactic Sue Gross and her Wall Street investor husband, Bill Gross, whom Forbes reports has a net worth of $2.5 billion, turned to last summer to decide who would get to hold on to a Picasso painting that had previously hung in their bedroom. Sue won the coin flip for Le Repos, as the work is titled, though it turns out she’d already gone ahead on her own and taken the painting. And, according to Page Six, she’d slyly replaced it with a fake she painted herself.
The painting, which Picasso made in 1932, features Marie-Thérèse Walter, a 17-year-old French model whom Picasso began a relationship with when he was 45 and still living with his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, and their five-year-old son. Picasso’s affair with Walter started in 1930. In 1935, when Khokhlova found out about the relationship, Walter was living in an apartment near the family. In 1936, Walter had a daughter with Picasso, whom she brought along when she moved into a 17th-century château in Normandy. (Oh, and she also reportedly fought the photographer Dora Maar, another of Picasso’s models whom he’d fallen in love with, in front of his famed painting Guernica.)
Of course, there’s more to Le Repos than its fitting backstory of marital turmoil; it comes from a period when Picasso was working with vivid color as well as eroticism. Le Repos features thick black lines outlining the profile and hands of Walter, whose skin is a ghostly mix of violets and white, against a green and red backdrop. Conveniently enough for Sue Gross, the swaths of bright color and bold outlines are far easier to copy than, say, painstaking chiaroscuro.
What brought this particularly entertaining bit of Gross divorce sabotage to light is that Le Repos will be a highlight of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale in New York on Monday, where it’s reportedly expected to sell for as much as $35 million. Somehow, the original has managed to make its way to the storied auction house after all the drama last year, which began when Bill tried to transfer the work to Sue from his home in Laguna Beach, and she told him it was “unnecessary.” Once it was learned that, as a source put it, “she stole the damn thing,” things then unsurprisingly took a legal turn.
Sue Gross’s admission during a testimony in November is a bit less brazen when you consider that she also presented an email from Bill that instructed her to “take all the furniture and art you’d like.” Still, his lawyers weren’t about to let her off the hook that easily: After clarifying with her that she hadn’t simply left an empty spot on the wall, they asked if she installed a fake, to which she responded, “Well, it was a painting I painted.” She has since agreed with his team that it was a “replication” of the Picasso, though she couldn’t recall if she’d left Picasso’s signature on it or her own.
“Bill will remember because I painted it at home years ago,” she continued, adding that she and Bill “didn’t speak for a year and a half” when his lawyers asked if she told him that she took the Picasso.
Really, the “replication” of the Picasso certainly shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Bill Gross. In fact, back in 2015, he’d told an investor that his wife, aka “the artist in the family,” “likes to paint replicas of some of the famous pieces, using an overhead projector to copy the outlines and then just sort of fill in the spaces.” Indeed, even when they were together, there was already a Picasso replica of Sue’s doing in their bedroom that Bill was well aware of, and apparently even proud of—they even hung the canvas above their bedroom’s fireplace. (According to Bill, Sue had said, “Why spend $20 million? I can paint that one for $75.”)
Meanwhile, the Picasso block might be perking up at Sotheby’s, but over at Christie’s, things are trending downward in that regard. After accidentally putting his elbow through his own $139 million Picasso painting in 2006, the businessman and art collector Steve Wynn damaged another of his Picassos, a 1943 self-portrait that was set to sell for an estimated $70 million this week but ended up being pulled from the block after sustaining damage “during the final stages of preparation.”
In Memoriam of 2018’s Most Devastating Celebrity Breakups, So Far
After eleven years together as a couple, Natalie Dormer and Anthony Byrne called off their engagement recently due to disputes from working together on their film, In Darkness.
Robert DeNiro and his wife Grace Hightower recently announced their split after 20 years of marriage.
Paris Hilton and the actor-artist Chris Zylka reportedly called off their engagement in November, bringing their two-year relationship to an end. After meeting at Art Basel Miami and keeping in touch via text, the pair went on their first date—the actual first time around, since, as Zylka told W earlier this year, “I got so nervous that I cancelled and said I was sick.” According to him, at least as of this past March, they hadn’t spent more than four hours apart from each other since that first date, making it only natural that Zylka proposed to Hilton with a $2 million ring earlier this year. Having called things off, things are reportedly back to usual for the pair: “Paris will be focusing on her brand, like deejaying and fragrances, while Chris will get back into acting and art, like his gallery pop-ups with Banksy during Art Basel.”
Antoni Porowski had been dating Joey Krietemeyer for about seven years before he became an overnight celebrity thanks to Netflix’s Queer Eye, and the show’s designated food expert even said that the pair were “basically married.” Though, in recent months Krietemeyer didn’t appear with Poroski in public nor on his popular social media channels. Us Weekly now reports that the two broke up two months ago, but that they remain friends.
The relationship between Diddy and “Me & U” singer Cassie has always been steeped in a mystery. They first started dating back in 2006, but had broken up and gotten back together before. As of now, the pair have once again split.
Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande’s whirlwind relationship and engagement didn’t just set a new precedent for news-cycle domination; it also arguably broke records in terms of plain old productivity. In just five months, the pair got seemingly countless tattoos together; went through bottle after bottle of bleach and hair dye; made the trek to Staten Island; moved into a $16 million apartment; adopted a pet pig; made merch for each other; and prompted a new strategy at SNL. (On a much more serious note, they also dealt with some very real tragedy: the untimely death of Grande’s previous partner Mac Miller.) Davidson and Grande may have now called it quits romantically, but their bond apparently remains; according to TMZ, which broke the news, “the two still have love for each other.”
Brandon and Leah Jenner announced via Instagram that they would be separating as of September 2018, after six years of marriage and 14 years together in total.
Shortly after Noah Cyrus and the rapper Lil Xan made their red-carpet couple debut, at the 2018 MTV VMAs, cheating rumors reportedly put an end to the relationship in September 2018.
The endless iced coffee dates could not keep Ben Affleck and Lindsay Shookus together after their yearlong relationship reportedly fizzled out in August 2018.
Comedians Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito announced via Twitter that they were “separating to live individual lives for a time” in August 2018, after nearly three years of marriage.
Josh Duhamel and Eiza González reportedly split after just five months of dating, in July 2018.
G-Eazy and Halsey split in July 2018, just a year after the couple officially began dating.
The day after the singer Cheryl celebrated her 35th birthday, and a little over a year after she gave birth to a son named Bear with her partner of two years, Liam Payne, she and the former One Directioner posted identical tweets saying that they were “sad to announce that [they] are going [their] separate ways.”
Christian Siriano and Brad Walsh were together for 11 years and married for nearly two of those, before Walsh announced via Instagram Stories that the couple is officially over as of June 2018.
After just a few short months of dating, Emma Watson and Chord Overstreet reportedly called it quits in May 2018.
“After much thought and consideration we have mutually decided to separate as a couple,” Usher and his wife Grace Miguel shared in a statement announcing their divorce.
The Preacher costars quietly dated for eight years before splitting in April—just in time for people to realize they were even a couple.
After famously dating Nick Jonas, Olivia Culpo moved on to the New England Patriots player Danny Amendola, but the pair called it off post–Super Bowl.
Anderson Cooper and Benjamin Maisani were together for nine years before breaking up in March.
The pair met on the set of Step Up and have one daughter together, but called it quits in early April. Their love lives on in DVD form and countless ABC Family re-runs.
After two years and many front-row fashion show appearances, Tiffany Trump and the dubiously named Ross Mechanic officially split in early 2018.
Though they never officially confirmed their courtship, it was reported that the rappers had broken up in the winter after seven months of dating.
Rebecca Gayheart filed for divorce from Eric Dane after 13 years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.
Sarah Silverman released a statement announcing that she’d broken up with boyfriend Michael Sheen, stating, “We just live in different countries & it got hard.”
The Crown star and her husband announced their separation in February, stating that they haven’t been together “for some time.”
The Girls creator and her musician boyfriend broke up after five years of dating, with many speculating Antonoff had moved on to mutual friend Lorde.
In February, after six years together, two and half of which were as husband and wife, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux revealed they broke up late last year.