In 1930i n the midst of the Depression, a lavish party was thrown in New York. It was the debutante ball for Barbara Hutton, the grandaughter and heires of Frank Winfield Woolworth, creator of the Woolworthsa international chain. The party cost an outrageous ammount of money, giving Barbara the moniker "Poor little rich girl" that folowed her for the rest of her life. Although her life seemed fabulous from afar, in reality the situation was totally different.
Hutton was the only daughter of Franklyn Laws Hutton and Edna Woolworth. Despite her family's fortune her childhood was extremely unhappy. Her father weas a notorious philanderer causeing her mother to commit suicide when Barbara was only six years old. It was she who discovered her dead body. After her mother's death Barbara's father virtually deserted her to the care of her governess.
Shy and introverted as a child Barbara grew up to be the flirtiest butterfly of New York's society, ready to fall in love with anyone she suspected to be able to love her back the way her parents were never able to.
Her dream was to become a real princess. In 1933 she married Alexis Mdivani, a self styled Georgian prince. They divorced two years later.
Her second husband was Count Curt Heinrich Eberhard Erdmann Georg von Haugwitz-Hardenberg-Reventlow, who used her fortune to his advantage. He was a violent man who abused her physically. Hutton ended up in the hospital and the couple separated in 1938. They had a son, Lance. After the divorce Hutton was granted custody, still the boy was brought up by governesses, like his mother had. It was during her second marriage that Hutton got addicted to Seconal and started suffering from eating disorders.
Barbara's most famous husband was of course Cary Grant. Hutton was in Hollywood using her high profile to promote war bonds when she met the actor. They married in 1942. Many suggested the actor had married her for her money, nicknaming the couple, Cash n' Cary, but his actions suggested something else.
Hutton was indeed generous with money when it came to her friends and former husbands. To a fault...She was also obsessed with royalty and the combination resulted in her being surrounded by sycophants and fakers who were only interested in her fortune. The situation sickened Grant. The couple broke up in 1945, but unlike her previous and future husbands the actor walked away wiothout taking a penny.
In 1947 Hutton married exiled Russian prince Igor Troubetzkoy, who drove the first Ferrari in the Monaco Grand Prix in 1948. He filed for divorce in 1951 driving Barbara to attempt suicide, making headlines worldwide.
In 1953 Hutton was once again in the news after her marriage to the Domincan diplomat and notorious playboy Porfirio Rubirosa who at the time had an affair with Zsa Zsa Gabor. The marriage lasted just for 53 days.
Hutton got married once again in 1955 with tennis pro and old friend Baron Gottfried Cramm. They divorced 4 years later
Her last husband was Prince Pierre Raymond Doan Vinh na Champassak, whose title was aquired by Hutton. They separated in 1966.
Barbara Hutton spent most of her later life in her palace in Tangier. She had a fabulius art and jewelry collection.
One of her most famous pieces was the emerald and diamond bracelet that belonged to Catherine the Great that she turned into a tiara and a set of pearls that reportedly belonged to Marie Antoinette.
Underneath the sparkling jewels though Hutton was a shade of her former self, suffering from various addictions and anorexia.
In 1972 her only son died in a plane crash. She never recovered.
Generous to a fault, Hutton gave money to anyone who would be her companion. Her spending ways had dried out her great fortune. When she died of a heart attack at 66 in the Beverly Hills hotel she spent her last days, legend has it that she had only $ 3500 in her bank account.