Mouna Ayoub

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Mouna Ayoub
منى أيوب
Mouna Ayoub

(1957-02-27) February 27, 1957 (age 62)
NationalityLebanese and French
Nasser Al-Rashid
(m. 1979; div. 1996)

Mouna Ayoub (Arabic: منى أيوب‎) (born on 27 February 1957 in Kuwait)[2] is a well-known French socialite and businesswoman of Lebanese origin. Frequently in the media, she is often a guest of the Cannes film festival and makes headlines in French gossip magazines.[3]


She was born into a Maronite Christian family. At the age of 20 she converted to Islam in order to marry Nasser Al-Rashid, a 40-year-old businessman and adviser to King Fahd. She has five children with Nasser Al-Rashid.[4] After eighteen years of marriage, and according to her divorce agreements, she left Saudi Arabia and built a fortune by investing in real estate and stocks.[5] She wrote about her marriage in her 2000 book La Vérité: autobiographie.[6][7][8]

Ayoub stated she wrote the book to explain her situation, and to address allegations published in the Middle East by a Lebanese magazine that she was a modern-day Madame Bovary.[8] As Scott MacLeod of Time Magazine wrote: "But if her tale provides a rare look at the extravagance often wrought by unimagined wealth, it also serves as a disturbing manifesto against the extreme restrictions imposed on women by some ultraconservative Arab societies."[8] Her former husband filed suit in an attempt to stop publication of the autobiography.[5] The book became a best seller in France.[8]

In 1997, she bought a boat from Bernard Tapie, the Phocéa (the largest sailing yacht in the world before 2004), for 5.56 million to which was added €18.25 million worth of work.[9][10] To pay for this work Ayoub sold a number of her jewels including "The Mouna diamond," one of the largest yellow diamonds of the world (112.53 carats (22.506 g)) for a price of €2.52 million (16.5 million francs) and a Bulgari necklace for 15.3 million francs.[10][11] After getting rid of the yacht, she sold the contents in a well publicized auction.[9]

The Associated Press estimated her net worth at over $300 million.[5][7] In 2006, The New York Times offered a figure of about $500 million.[12]

She has the largest private collection of haute couture in the world, encompassing more than 10,000 items.[3][7] She never wears the same item of couture twice, and all of the major couture houses maintain an Ayoub mannequin for a proper fit in her absence.[7][13] The Associated Press claimed: "She's also a couture philanthropist. She has just donated what's been described as the most expensive dress made to Paris' Musee de la Mode — a gold Chanel dress that cost over 300,000 euros."[7][13]

Her rags to riches story, involving cross cultural tension and claimed "scandal", has been the subject of intense reportage.[5][7][8] As The Daily Telegraph reported: "ONE of the richest women in the world will this week disclose how a disastrous marriage to a Saudi Royal family adviser drove her to depression and attempted suicide."[5]

Published works[edit]

  • Ayoub, Mouna (1 January 2000). La Vérité: autobiographie (French) (Paperback) (in French). Neuilly-sur-Seine: M. Lafon. ISBN 2840986248. ISBN 978-2840986249. Retrieved 13 August 2014.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Staff writer (25 June 2000). "Le cri d'amour de Mouna Ayoub". La Dépêche du Midi (in French). Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Mouna Ayoub - Couture is an art". Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e Coman, Julian (18 June 2000). "My marriage of misery to a billionaire". Daily Telegraph. Paris, France. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  6. ^ Ayoub, Mouna (1 January 2000). La Vérité: autobiographie (French) (Paperback) (in French). Neuilly-sur-Seine: M. Lafon. ISBN 2840986248. ISBN 978-2840986249. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Adamson, Thomas (20 February 2014). "Cinderella to Couture Queen: Meet Mouna Ayoub". Gennevilliers, France: Associated Press. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e MacLeod, Scott (31 July 2000). "What Money Can't Buy". Time Magazine. Cairo, Egypt. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  9. ^ a b Szmydke, Paulina (19 March 2014). "Mouna Ayoub's Moving Sale" (PDF). WWD. Women’s Wear Daily. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b "The Long, Troubled, Glamorous Life Of Superyacht Phocea". Vanuatu Daily Post. Port Vila, Vanuatu: Vanuatu Daily Post: Trading Post Limited. 16 November 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Record prices in auction houses". BBC News. 17 November 1998. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  12. ^ Reddy, Sameer (27 August 2006). "The Remix: Petro Dollies". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  13. ^ a b Adamson, Thomas (20 February 2014). "Meet Mouna Ayoub: the billionaire haute couture collector". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.

External links[edit]