Athina Onassis

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For her grandmother, see Tina Onassis Niarchos.
Athina Onassis
Hessischen Ministerpräsidenten Athina Onassis-de Miranda with Babouch 5 2013.jpg
Athina Onassis (2013)
Born Athina Helene Onassis Roussel
(1985-01-29) January 29, 1985 (age 32)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Occupation Equestrian athlete
Owner of AD Sport Horses
Net worth US$720 million (2016)
Spouse(s) Álvaro Affonso de Miranda Neto (2005–2016)
Parent(s) Thierry Roussel (b. 1953)
Christina Onassis (1950-1988)
Wiesbaden 2013

Athina Helene Onassis Roussel (born January 29, 1985) is a French-Greek heiress, the only surviving descendant of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, and the sole heir of Aristotle's daughter Christina Onassis, who inherited 55% of his fortune. The remaining 45%, minus the $26 million left to Onassis' widow Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was left to the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, established in honor of Aristotle's late son, and Athina's uncle. The two halves of the fortune are separately managed. Despite keen investigation by the media, the extent of Onassis' wealth remains unknown.

Onassis married Brazilian Olympic showjumper Álvaro de Miranda Neto in 2005. She is a competitive show jumper in her own right, under the name Athina Onassis de Miranda, until her divorce in 2016.

Early life[edit]

Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Onassis is the only child of Christina Onassis (1950–1988) and her fourth husband, Thierry Roussel, a French pharmaceutical heir and brother of Christine Hélène, the current duchess of Luynes by her marriage with Jean d'Albert, 12th duc de Luynes. Prior to her December 2005 marriage, her legal name was Athina Roussel. However, upon marrying Alvaro Alfonso de Miranda Neto, she took the name "Athina de Miranda" and soon afterwards legally added the Onassis name. In equestrian events, she is usually listed as "Athina Onassis de Miranda", "Athina de Miranda", or "Athina Onassis Miranda".[citation needed]

Athina's parents were married only briefly, from 1984 to 1987.[1] They divorced after Roussel's mistress, Swedish model Marianne "Gaby" Landhage, became pregnant with their second child.[1] Athina was born 12 years after the death of her uncle Alexander, 11 years after the death of the grandmother after whom she was named, Athina "Tina" Livanos, and almost exactly a decade after the death of grandfather Aristotle. Athina was just three years old when her mother Christina died of pulmonary edema in November 1988. After her mother's death, she was raised by her father and Landhage, whom Roussel later married.[1]

For her early education, she attended a school in Lussy-sur-Morges (Switzerland), where the Roussels lived in a five-bedroom villa. Following a preparatory course in Brussels, she passed her baccalauréat exam in the summer of 2003.[2]

Onassis has three half-siblings, via her father's relationship with his second wife, Gaby Landhage:

  • Erik Christopher Roussel (born July 1985)
  • Sandrine Roussel (born May 1987)
  • Johanna Roussel (born July 1991)

Personal fortune[edit]

The extent of Onassis's inheritance is the subject of much argument. Sources do not agree on whether her collective heritage is worth at least $1 billion, even though she is often credited as the "billionaire heiress" throughout the media. There have been several calculations of the assets believed to be part of her inherited portfolio, including a small island off the coast of Greece named "Skorpios", which was sold to an undisclosed Russian billionaire in 2013.[3] Some accounts claim that her collective heritage is less than $1 billion, thus not actually making her a legitimate billionaire.[4] One cause for confusion is the media's tendency to blur the line of distinction between what she owns and what the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation owns.[4]

Legal entanglements[edit]

Christina Onassis never trusted Thierry Roussel completely, which led the family to arrange for a Board of Administrators to control the family's money until Athina came of age. The trustees Christina selected to manage Athina's estate in the event of Christina's death were Stelio Papadimitriou, Paul Ioannidis, Apostolos Zabelas, Theodore Gabrielides, and Thierry Roussel.[5] The "four Greeks" (the board members other than Roussel) have frequently been dubbed in the media as the "greybeards."[6] During Athina's childhood and adolescence, all expenditures made on her behalf by her father (using money from the Onassis inheritance) had to be approved by the Board in advance (which led her father to threaten constantly to move back to Paris, France, with the family, where income taxes would cost the estate a "small fortune a year", as put it).[6] In 1999, a Vaduz court ordered the management of Athina's inheritance transferred from the five trustees selected by her mother to the KPMG Fides auditing firm in Lucerne.[7]

In 1999, at the age of 13, she said in court documents she felt "great aversion to anything Greek", even though her mother was Greek. In one of few public interviews, published in Oggi, an Italian magazine, Athina stated that she blamed "all the problems" on the Onassis name. Similarly, her stepmother, Gaby, stated on 20/20 with Diane Sawyer that Athina had told her "if she could burn all the Onassis money, she would do it."[8]

On Athina's 18th birthday, she was of legal age to take control of half of her inheritance.[9] However, on her 21st birthday in January 2006, she did not take control of the other half or become the president of the Onassis Foundation, as was expected. The Foundation's Board stated that they would not turn over its control to Athina, who they claimed was unqualified, and furthermore denied that she ever was an heir to the estate of Aristotle Onassis.[10] Athina's lawyers unsuccessfully fought to instate her as President of the Foundation.[11]

Stelios Papadimitriou, President of the Foundation, remarked: "We are not going to turn the Onassis Foundation over to someone who has no connection with our culture, our religion, our language or our shared experiences, and who never went to college or worked a day in her life. She can do whatever she wants with what she inherited from her mother, but not with Onassis's legacy to the Greek people in memory of [Athina's uncle], Alexander Onassis."[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

She began dating Brazilian professional showjumper (and two-time Olympic medalist) Álvaro de Miranda Neto, more commonly known as "Doda", in March 2003, and moved to São Paulo, where the couple now live. She paid $8.6 million for a 10,600-square-foot (980 m2) duplex, with space for 15 cars and overlooking Ibirapuera Park.[2][12]

Miranda and Onassis were married on 3 December 2005, after which she assumed a hybrid version of the Onassis and Miranda names, and dropped the Roussel name. The bride's father and stepmother were not at the ceremony, although her half-sister Sandrine Roussel was invited.[12][13][14][15]

According to reports, the wedding guests consumed 1000 bottles of champagne. Most witnesses were Brazilian VIPs or friends of the couple from the equestrian community. Miranda and Onassis decided not to publish photos of the wedding, as previously planned, after a television report aired some days before the wedding about the death of her mother. The couple reportedly asked for no presents and asked their guests to donate to charity.[16]

In 2016, Onassis and Miranda decided to separate, following an infidelity by Miranda in March 2016 in Florida, United States of America.[17]

Equestrian career[edit]

Athina Onassis with AD Crosshill, CSI 5* horse show Hamburg 2011

Onassis began her equestrian career as a teenager, when she was still known as Athina Roussel. More recently, in an effort to reattach to her maternal roots, she expressed an interest in learning Greek and renewed her Greek passport.[2] She also switched her national affiliation from France to Greece for all of her equestrian competitions.

Onassis and her husband have a home base in São Paulo, but they travel throughout the year with the Global Champions Tour, of which Onassis is official patroness.[18] The Rio de Janeiro leg of the tour is, in fact, named the Athina Onassis International Horse Show; established in 2007, it was initially set in São Paulo, but as of 2009, its venue is a newly renovated center in Rio de Janeiro.[19] Onassis and her husband are also joint owners of AD Sport Horses, based in Fleurus.[20]

In November 2012, Onassis suffered a spinal injury in a fall from her horse, but was reported to be returning to competition in January 2013.[21]

In February 2014, Onassis paid $12 million cash for a 5.6 acre estate and barn in Wellington, a village in Palm Beach County, Florida. The property was previously owned by Mark Bellissimo, the owner of the Winter Equestrian Festival. Onassis plans to keep and train her horses on the property in the winter.[22]



  1. ^ a b c Michelle Green & Cathy Nolan, "Thierry Roussel Tells His Story - of Love for Two Women and Little Athina",, March 20, 1989
  2. ^ a b c Gage, Nicholas: "The Last Onassis." Vanity Fair, Issue 537. May 2005
  3. ^ "Athina Onassis Sells Skorpios Island to Russian Billionaire". Greek Reporter. 10 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Goldman, Lea (3 March 2003). "Is Athina Onassis Really a billionaire?". 
  5. ^ Stelio Papadimitriou's obituary
  6. ^ a b Klein, Edward (November 1997). "The Battle Over the Golden Girl". Vanity Fair. 
  7. ^ Athens News Agency (December 8, 1999). "Onassis Foundation not to appeal Swiss court ruling". 
  8. ^ "Hostage to fortune";; January 25, 2003
  9. ^ Daryn Kagan interviewing Alexis Mantheakis (January 29, 2003). "Heiress Comes of Age". CNN LIVE. 
  10. ^ The Foundation Estate at
  11. ^ [Smith, Helena: "Legal row taints special day for Onassis heiress Athina", The UK Guardian, 28 January 2006]
  12. ^ a b Watson, Jeremy; "O what a wedding... and in Jackie's dress too" News; December 4, 2005
  13. ^ Smith, Helena; "Another Onassis wedding - another drama"; The Guardian December 2, 2005
  14. ^ Zahar, Cristina; "Billionaire Onassis Heiress Weds Brazilian Equestrian Champ"; Reuters/Washington; December 5, 2005
  15. ^ Williams, Alexandra; "Daddy stays away as Onassis heiress weds her playboy"; Daily Mail, December 5, 2005
  16. ^ [Silverman, Stephen: "Athina Onassis Weds Brazilian Horseman", People Magazine, 3 December 2005]
  17. ^
  18. ^ Letter from Athina Onassis de Miranda, Global Champions Tour official website
  19. ^ Athina Onassis International Horse Show
  20. ^ Ormsby, Mary: "The horse, the heiress, and the golden hurdle", 3 June 2007
  21. ^ Waterlow, Lucy (14 January 2013). "Heiress Athina Onassis de Miranda recovers from spinal injury to attend equestrian competition". Daily Mail. London. 
  22. ^ Jose Lambiet (2014-02-17). "Heiress Athina Onassis Buys Wellington Horse Barns for $12 Million". 

Further reading[edit]