The wedding of Richard Mörtel Lugner, the flamboyant 81- year old billionaire, with 24-year old German Playboy model Cathy Schmitz has made shutterbugs sit up and take notice. This is his fifth marriage.
Richard Seigfried Lugner was born in Austria on October 11, 1932. He began to work as a building contractor in 1962. His line of work involved making filing stations and maintaining and repairing archaic and old buildings. He made his presence felt when he built in Vienna, the city’s very own mosque, on the bank of Danube River. In 1990, Lugner opened a sprawling shopping mall called Lugner City. He was one of the first ones in Austria who hit upon the brainwave to involve celebrities in campaigning and promotions. One of the earliest ones was Thomas Gottchalk. In 1992, Richard and his wife Christina Mausi Lugner, roped in Harry Belafonte to his mall and then extended his delight factor, by inviting him to attend the Vienna Opera Ball. After that he began calling upon eminent Hollywood celebrities to grace his mall and then be a part of the ball. Soon, both the mall and the opera ball began to attain heights of popularity and cult status. The Vienna Opera Ball is being now looked upon as the next best event after New Year’s Eve, in Austria.
The celebrities who have come to the celebrations include popular faces like Joan Colins, Ivana Trump, Farah Fawcett, Carmen Electra, Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian along with her mother Kris Jenner.
Lavish spending on celebrity dates
Richard Lugner is known to splurge money on A-list female celebrities. Celebrities like Sofia Loren, Paris Hilton and Linday Lohan have become several million dollars richer due to his habit of asking female celebrities to shake a leg with him at the Opera Ball. In fact, he reportedly, paid $150,000 to Lindsay Lohan to attend the event, which did not materialize. Richard Lugner also paid a whopping $500K to Kim Kardashian in 2014, but the date did not really go the way, Richard like. In an interview, he said that Kim was ‘annoying’ and that he did not dance with him, even though he had paid her lot of money. He said, “Kim is annoying, she did not commit to the program. She is filming and does not like me around”
Kim on her statement said, that she was not annoyed with Mr. Lugner but with a man who had face painted black tying to look like her husband, Kanye. Kim further stated that Richard was making her feel uncomfortable and had her asked her to spend some time with him alone.
Drift to politics
Richard Lugner is credited with changing the shopping habits in Austria. He opened his mall for shopping throughout the night, unlike the norm which was to have them shut down before 6 pm and during the weekends. He had also drifted to politics, giving control of the business to his two sons, in the 90. He came fourth in the run for the presidential elections. He left politics in 1998 but by then, he had become an even more visible public figure.
Richard Lugner married 4 times, one of them was to a woman called Christina (born 1968) who was with him when his business was growing. The marriage lasted from 1990 to 2007 and now she is an Austrian TV presenter. Another wife was Sonja Jeanine, the Austrian actress.
Richard Lugner has four children, two sons are from the first wife, the daughter Nandine Cutter is from Sonja and daughter Jacqueline is from the fourth marriage.
Marriage with Cathy Schmitz
Richard Lugner got married to Cathy Schmitz on September 14, 2014. He declared “Apart from the big age difference, everything fits.” The marriage was a gala affair and looked straight from a fairy-tale as you may see from the pictures.
Richard Luger on his interest in getting celebrities to the mall
It may be interesting to notice that the flamboyant Richard Luger did not attend celebrities for his wedding with Cathy Schmitz. But he makes sure that he ropes in at least one popular pretty face to the mall and then to the ball. The 81 year old says, “ It is not possible to dance with my guests, because they are always being hounded by journalists. My daughter chooses the female celebrities, she is connected with the world and she is in touch with what is happening. I am a businessman, I don’t know these things. I invite these popular celebrities for the benefit of my clientele and customers who come to shop at the mall. It is just so that they get to meet their star and autographs. It is just business for me. ”
Though there has not been an official report of his monies, unofficial sources peg Richard Lugner’s net worth at 2.2 billion dollars. The man is known to invest heavily in art, rare artifacts, reality and construction sector, besides spending money on making people around him feeling special.