Jocelyn Wildenstein

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Jocelyn Wildenstein
Jocelyn Périsset

(1940-09-07) September 7, 1940 (age 81)
Lausanne, Switzerland
Nationality  Switzerland
Known forExtensive facial surgeries
(m. 1978; div. 1999)

Jocelyn Wildenstein[1] (née Périsset; born September 7, 1940)[2] is an American socialite[3] known for her extensive cosmetic surgery, resulting in her catlike appearance; her 1999 high-profile divorce from billionaire art dealer and businessman Alec Wildenstein;[4][5] and her extravagant lifestyle and subsequent bankruptcy filing.

Early life and relationships[edit]

Jocelyn Périsset was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 7, 1940.[6][7] Her father worked in a sporting goods store.[2] She began dating Swiss Cyril Piguet, producer of the 1964 film Un commerce tranquille, at the age of 17.[8] She later lived in Paris with Italian French filmmaker Sergio Gobbi.[9] While there, she became a skilled hunter and pilot.[3]

Périsset was introduced to Alec N. Wildenstein, of the wealthy family of renowned art dealers[10], by Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi at a shooting weekend at the Wildenstein African ranch "Ol Jogi".[11] Périsset and Wildenstein married when they were both in their 30s[8] and had two children together.[12]

The Wildensteins' divorce in 1999[4][11] was not amicable.[13] Jocelyn walked in on her husband and a 19-year-old Russian model in her bedroom at the Wildenstein New York home, and he threatened her with a gun.[14][15] This resulted in a night in jail for Alec Wildenstein.[15] The presiding judge, Marilyn Diamond, received death threats in the mail during the proceedings.[16] During her divorce, the judge stipulated that she could not use any alimony payments for further cosmetic surgery.[17] Jocelyn enlisted the services of Ed Rollins[9][18] for public relations assistance and at various times both Bernard Clair[9][19] and Kenneth Godt[20] for legal counsel.

Wildenstein began dating fashion designer Lloyd Klein[21] in 2003.[22] Following highly publicized domestic incidents,[23][21][22] the couple split in 2016.[22]

Cosmetic surgery[edit]

Wildenstein has had extensive cosmetic surgeries to her face.[24] Her catlike appearance[25][21] has led media outlets to nickname her "Catwoman", "The Lion Queen", and "The Bride of Wildenstein".[26] She denies having any plastic surgery, citing her Swiss heritage.[25]


Wildenstein is known for her extravagant lifestyle. She once calculated her yearly telephone bill at $60,000 and food and wine costs at $547,000.[10]

Wildenstein received $2.5 billion in her divorce settlement and $100 million each year for the following 13 years.[27] The judge stipulated that she could not use any alimony payments for further cosmetic surgery.[17]

Following her divorce, Wildenstein sold the marital home in New York to real estate developer Janna Bullock for $13 million.[28]

In 2018, she filed for bankruptcy.[29]


  1. ^ "The Crazy Life of Billionaire Socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein". Archived from the original on May 10, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Konigsberg 1997, p. 34.
  3. ^ a b McCracken 2008, p. 25.
  4. ^ a b Dunford 2009, p. 181.
  5. ^ DeMello 2007, pp. 13, 36.
  6. ^ "The crazy life of billionaire socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein". The Independent. January 5, 2017. Archived from the original on June 9, 2022.
  7. ^ UK, Lianna Brinded, Business Insider. "The crazy life of billionaire socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein". Business Insider.
  8. ^ a b Konigsberg 1997, p. 35.
  9. ^ a b c Carlin, Peter Ames (January 26, 1998). "Surgical Strike". People Magazine. 49 (3). ISSN 0093-7673. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Felder & Victor 2011.
  11. ^ a b Faith, Nicholas (February 22, 2008). "Alec Wildenstein: Art dealer and racehorse owner who divorced in a blaze of publicity". The Independent. Archived from the original on June 9, 2022. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  12. ^ Heigl, Alex (December 9, 2016). "The Famous Life and Face of Jocelyn Wildenstein". People. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  13. ^ Crowley 2005, pp. 164–165.
  14. ^ "People & Places: Art dealer admits he pulled gun on wife". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. September 9, 2000. p. A2. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Konigsberg 1997, p. 32.
  16. ^ Felder 2004, pp. 122–126.
  17. ^ a b Portmann 2004, p. 66.
  18. ^ Grove, Lloyd (June 9, 2000). "The Reliable Source". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  19. ^ Gupte, Pranay (May 17, 2005). "It's Personal for a Top NYC Divorce Lawyer". The Sun. New York. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  20. ^ "Jocelyn gives bankrupt beau the brush-off". New York Post. November 10, 1999. p. 30. Retrieved February 4, 2012. (subscription required) for full content.
  21. ^ a b c Steinbuch, Yaron (July 31, 2017). "'Catwoman' gets engaged months after brawl with boyfriend".
  22. ^ a b c "Jocelyn Wildenstein's Boyfriend Lloyd Klein Reveals What Happened the Night of the Attack".
  23. ^ Prendergast, Daniel; Saul, Emily (November 5, 2017). "Catwoman and boyfriend arrested, again".
  24. ^ Jones 2008, p. 123.
  25. ^ a b McCarthy, Tyler (February 13, 2018). "'Catwoman' Jocelyn Wildenstein denies having any plastic surgery, cites her Swiss heritage". Fox News.
  26. ^ "The crazy life of billionaire socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein". PressFrom - AU.
  27. ^ Petridou, Ria (September 29, 2011). "Queens of plastic: Jocelyn Wildenstein". Fashion Love. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  28. ^ Greene, Penelope (July 26, 2007). "Buy High, Sell Higher". The New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  29. ^ Marsh, Julia; Keil, Jennifer Gould (May 17, 2018). "'Catwoman' files for bankruptcy". New York Post.

Bibliography – books[edit]

Bibliography – periodicals[edit]