Christina Onassis: The richest girl in the world was also the unhappiest

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Her surname, was a synonym for but also for misfortune. Surely it is better to be unhappy living in a Avenue Foch apartment than be unhappy living in the streets. But what happened to Christina Onassis far exceeds the share of bad luck that corresponds to each of us. The richest girl in the world was also the unhappiest. Deprived of her father and mother during her childhood due to their bysy glamorous lives she lived the carefree life of the jet set always feeling as the underdog because of her looks.She lost her brother, mother and father in just two years. None of the marriages led to happiness and she was able to live with the daughter she so longed for just for three years. Christina Onassis was found dead at age 37 on November 19th, 1988 in the bathtub at the Villa La Tortuga Argentina where she was staying with her dear Marina Doderos. Her turbulent life continues to fascinate in the same way that a deadly accident on the highway makes all the passing by cars slow down.

 

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Aristotle Onassis' family lived between Paris, French Riviera, London and New York. Most of the time however, was spent on Onassis' floating palace, the yacht "Christina" which was actually the first home Christina ever had. She was not easy child. At the age of three she stopped talking for a while, and then turned hyperactive and mischievous. Once she threw the shoes of her parents at the sea, because they had locked her in their cabin for being naughty.

 

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 Her childhood was rather lonely. She had dolls with Dior dresses and parents that were too busy to spend enough time with her. The list of invitees on "Christina" included Winston Churchill and Greta Garbo, but never a child at the age of Christina or her brother Alexander. At age 14 she was sent to a Swiss boarding school where she finally found what she dearly needed : Companionship and friendship.

 

 

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Next to the blonde, elegant Tina, young Christina felt awkward. Her mother promised her that she would get a nose job when she grew up and would have an equally beautiful nose with her. Some friends of the family felt that Tina was secretly embarrassed by her daughter.

 

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Onassis called her his "lucky child" because her birth on December 11, 1950 coincided with some major financial successes for his business. He liked teaching her how to cook Greek, still he could not disguise his obvious preference for her brother Alexander who would succeed him.

 

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Christina had never liked Maria Callas, but she liked Jackie Kennedy even less.Jackie was the epitome of chic, always gracious, speaking in that whispery voice of hers, sophisticated and also rather cold, while Christina was earthly, loud, and clumsy. They were bound to clash. When Christina would talk to her friends about Jackie she would label her "my father's unfortunate obsession". To close family members she reffered to her simply as "i kyria".Jackie took her out shopping, dining, visiting theatres and museums, but Christina didn't fall for it. "Next to her" she told friends, " I feel like a cow".

 

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Marriage was always in her mind as she believed that creating her family would detach her from the Onassis troubled saga. She met her first husband in the pool of the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo in May 1971. Joseph Bolker had his own construction company in Los Angeles, was a millionaire, once divorced and the father of four girls. He wore dark framed glasses just like her father and at 48 he was almost three decades older than Christina. Apart from a father figure, he quickly became one of the few people who had the patience to sit down and actually listen to what she had to say, unlike her father. News of the marriage infuriated Onassis, but the union did not last long as Christina soon got tired of living the life of a Los Angeles housewife. She and Bolker however maintained a friendly relationship after their divorce.

 

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Within two years, from 1973 to 1975, Christina lost her brother, mother and father. At age 24, at her father's funeral in Scorpios she was more lonely than she had ever been in her life.

 

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Arriving along with Christina for Onassis' funeral, Jackie, in Valentino, was smiling for the photographers. En route to the cemetery in Scorpios, Ted Kennedy started talking to Christina about Jackie's compensation. Christina stopped the care and left in a rage. In the end she gave Jackie $ 26 million knowing that under Greek law she could claim a lot more. After that it was forbidden to bring up Jackie in front of Christina. If someone made the mistake, her mood would sour in an instant. Christina famously said "I have never met a more avaricious person in my life. I would have given her fifty times as much of what I gave her, if I could ensure that would never have to see her again in my life" ...

 

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When her aunt, Artemis Garoufalidi introduced her to 32-year old Alexandros Andreadis, heir of the Greek shipping family, Christina jumped on the idea of marriage with pleasure. Their wedding took place just four months after the death of Onassis, in July 1975, in Glyfada, with Christina wearing a dress by Yves Saint Laurent. A few days later, according to Christina's biographer William Wright, her new husband explained that his family was facing serious financial troubles and asked her for a loan. Christina realized then that his desire to marry her had been motivated by his need for cash. Eventually, she declined to give the loan to Andreadis and their marriage came to a premature end.

 

Christina Onassis and Sergei Kauzov 1978

 

The choice of her next husband was nothing if not delightfully eccentric. Christina met Soviet officer Sergei Kaouzof in Paris, when she agreed to lease some of her oil tankers to the Soviet government. Disregarding his glass eye, his two gold teeth,his pianist wife and their eight-year daughter, Christina felt a strong attraction to Soviet official. They would flirt and then date. According to what she had said to her friends, Kauzof performance in bed was one of his major winning points. They married in August 1978 in Moscow,and the ceremony costed just $ 9. Spending a winter in Russia however was enough to make Christina revise her romantic dreams. Marrying the Kauzof was a big mistake, which could only be corrected with a divorce. Christina's closest friends, like Marina Doderos, insist that Sergei was the husband she had loved the most and truly loved her in return. Living for almost half a year in communist Moscow should be proof enough of her feelings and also the fact that after splitting up she made a gift of two oil tankers to him, elevating his personal assets to the amount of 9,000,000 dollars.

 

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Dancing at Studio 54. After her divorce with Kauzov Christina was living the life of a playgril with rumours about substance abuse swirling while her weight seemed to increase with time.

 

 

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At home in Paris. When not haunted by and family tragedies Christina could be glamorous and stylish.

 

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Christina had met Thierry Roussel when he was 20 and she 22, the summer following the death of her brother. They would meet again ten years later and would become inseparable. Christina started talking marriage. Roussel was not particularly interested in marrying Christina but she lured him promising him more money than they could ever have dreamed. He set one condition. If she wanted him to marry her Christina would have to lose twenty-five pounds. Christina accepted. What she did not know was that Roussel's affair with Swedish model Gaby Landhage had not ended as he had told her. Gaby had moved to Sweden, where oRoussel had bought her a house and he had never ceased visiting her.

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In February 1983, Christina gave a party at the Parisian nightclub The Palace to announce her engagement to Roussel. She began a strict diet program, spending two weeks in a spa, and greatly reduced her barbiturate and amphetamine use. Within a month she looked svelte and happier than she had been in ages. Her marriage to Thierry Roussel took place in March 1984.

 

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Their Athena was born on January 29, 1985 and immediately became the focus of Christina's world. Her marriage however was crumbling. The biggest blow for Christina came when she learned that the child born by Gabi a few months after the birth of Athena was fathered by Roussel. The shock was great, but her desire for Roussel was greater. She was determined to play her best card: Money. It is said that for every night spent with her, she would give Roussel 100.000 dollars.

 

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Wanting to keep the family united she even made friends with Gaby. She spent the summer of 1986 in Monaco with the woman who was her competition for her husband's heart, and the children she had with him. It was only when she learned that Gaby was once again pregnant by Roussel that she finally agreed to a divorce.

 

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After her divorce she went to Argentina, where she wanted to make a new beginning, and became close to the brother of her good friend Marina Doderos. George Tsomlektsoglou would admit that they intended to marry. Her sudden death in November 1988 gave an end to their plans.

 

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Despite the conspiracy theories surrounding Christina's death the forensic report attributed it to normal causes,a cardiac arrest due to pulmonary edema. In the last year of her life according to her friends Christina was taking what she called "diet pills" that helped her slim down but friends also fear played a part in cutting her life short. 

 

Michael Argyropoulos

 

 

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