At not even 30 years old, Petra Ecclestone has already snagged the title of having gone through one of the biggest divorce settlements in Britain. It's no easy feat and yet, her famous father, the former Formula One tycoon, Bernie Ecclestone, had one of the most expensive divorces as well when he had to hand over nearly half a billion dollars to his ex-wife as part of their settlement years ago. Like father, like daughter?
Although Petra Ecclestone isn't nearly as known in the US as she is across the pond, her divorce from the art dealer, James Stunt, has captivated the attention of tabloids all over. The media's fascination with the couple has been particularly due to the extremely high price tag of their divorce settlement. At £5.5 billion, which is about $7.8 billion, it's easy to see why anyone would be curious to know the outcome of their separation, especially since it certainly wasn't devoid of drama.
As hard as he may have tried to remain attached to the Ecclestone fortune, Stunt simply wasn't able to keep his family together. All things considered, he had over a decade to fix his struggling relationship with Petra, whom he met on a blind date back in 2011. The couple wed in a £12 million ceremony, financed by her father.
After months of being embroiled in messy court proceedings, they can now finally enjoy the calm after the storm. Both have already moved on, but just what exactly has the media uncovered about the two as a result of their high-profile divorce?
20 No Kardashian In The Making Here
Although her sister has famously been featured in her own show, Tamara’s World, Petra has absolutely no aspirations of following in her sister’s footsteps or even doing anything remotely similar to the way the Kardashian sisters live their lives. Her sister, Tamara, may have shown off her 57-room mansion and lavish lifestyle, but as Petra told the Daily Mail: “I get asked to do that kind of programme all the time, but they’re just not me. I find the idea quite cheesy."
Even her Instagram is on lock-down with no fans being allowed in. She also revealed that unlike her sister, who shows off her entire family, she is the polar opposite: “The idea that other people can see your kids freaks me out. There are so many sick people in this world. But I don’t talk to Tamara about it; we’d only have an argument.”
19 Misrepresented In The Press
In that same interview with the Daily Mail, Petra was also quick to dispel any misrepresentations about her personality. When asked about what would surprise people the most about her, she answered: “People think I’m arrogant but it’s mostly shyness.”
While we have a hard time believing that the socialite is shy, her previous statements about not being interested in having her life diffused on TV for everyone to see do support her claim. She also described her perfect day: “On weekends, go to the park, take the boys to the London Aquarium, go for a nice lunch, take the kids to the movies. When they are at school, being at home having some peace and quiet.” Given the tumultuous times that she must have gone through her during her marriage to James Stunt, it’s easy to understand her gratitude for quiet now.
18 She Refuses To Say His Name
In an interview with the Daily Mail after her divorce was finalized, Petra revealed: “It’s been a bad year. But it’s getting better. Once you have kids there’s no option but to be strong. You can’t feel sorry for yourself, you just have to do what’s right for them.”
Curiously, she had purposefully navigated around using her ex-husband’s name during the entire interview, choosing to avoid talking about their troubling marriage and subsequent dissolution. It’s obviously no easy feat to avoid talking about the father of your three children, but she managed to do it calmly and as the Daily Mail pointed out, with a “calm aura […] of someone who is relieved to have moved on."
Lucky for her, she can employ a multitude of people to avoid talking to her explosive ex and can quite literally never talk to him again.
17 She’s Ready For The Dirty Thirties
At not even 30 years old yet and with three kids, Petra is ready to finally experience her 30’s. She confided to the Daily Mail: “Maybe in my 30's I can have my life semi-back. Maybe I’ll have a midlife crisis and start dancing on tables.”
But given that Petra is primarily known as a socialite, it isn’t as though she has never had a party phase. In fact, there are a number of pics on the web of her stumbling out of clubs with her sister, Tamara, both looking bleary-eyed, but still trying to keep their composures for the cameras. Back in 2011, she even told Radar Online: “My full-time job isn’t just blowing my parents’ money.”
To be fair, she does appear to be more level-headed than her sister, so here’s to hoping that she won’t end up like Tara Reid.
16 She Wants More Kids
While the thought of having more kids isn’t exactly on her mind just yet, it’s clear that she is open about the possibility if the right guy came along. Talking to the Daily Mail after her divorce, Petra tellingly confided: “Right now the process is so overwhelming, but it has always been my dream to adopt, so maybe I will in the next five or six years, you never know. If you’re in love I guess it’s unfair not to give a partner a child of their own. But first I’d like to be able to breathe a bit and have a shower on my own."
With her several billion dollar wealth, she could pop out ten more kids without worries! But is she ready to keep on nursing the same way that she did the twins? Ironically, despite claiming to want to enjoy the single life, she has already jumped into another relationship…
15 Apparently She Changed After Her Divorce
There will be more on Petra’s new relationship in the next couple of points, but for now, we need to focus on some comments that Stunt has made since their divorce. Talking to the Daily Mail, he broke his silence about their marriage to describe Petra as “the best girl I ever met," but said she completely changed from who she used to be.
These are odd comments to make about the mother of your kids, but it’s clear that he was absolutely blindsided by the divorce. Whereas Petra had clearly been unhappy for some time, he had been clinging to the idea of the perfect marriage, despite the fact that he wasn’t exactly the ideal life partner either. In that same interview, he even had very choice words for his ex-father-in-law.
14 But He’s No Saint Himself
Despite trying to make himself look good, it’s clear that Petra’s ex-husband wouldn’t have been a joy to be married to, as he absolutely showed his true colors during the divorce proceedings. The Daily Mail has reported that during one of the court hearings, Stunt not only mouthed obscenities at Petra’s father Bernie, but he even tried to hit him on the way out! During the proceedings, he also made a shooting gesture towards his ex-father-in-law. Given his uncaring towards doing such things in court for all to see, we can only imagine the torturous years that Petra suffered being married to him.
It’s no wonder that she has even had to acquire a court order against him, preventing him from being physical with her in any way at the risk of automatically being thrown into jail for a couple of years.
13 The Kids Are Growing Up To Be Just Like Grandpa Bernie
James Stunt may hate his ex-father-in-law, but it’s clear that the kids adore the former Formula One chief executive. As Petra confided to the Daily Mail: “He’s fascinated by them. They have quite similar personalities to him.”
With their eldest daughter, Lavinia, being five years old and the twins, Andrew and James, being three years old already, there is plenty of time for them to learn from their famous grandfather’s business savviness. They wouldn’t necessarily need to though, given their mom’s incredible net worth, which is sure to be passed down to them through many investments.
"You see such happiness in him because of them,” she also continued. It’s undeniably clear that the kids making Bernie happy would be fueling Stunt’s hatred for the kids’ maternal grandparent even more.
12 No One Knows How He Made His Money
Since Petra filed for divorce from James Stunt, his level of shadiness has become painfully obvious as incredibly high. A close family friend even revealed to The Daily Mail: “Bernie doesn't know where the money comes from and James doesn't say. Bernie knows Stunt does business buying and selling, but he's never actually met anybody who's ever heard of James in the art world.”
With a $3.5 billion net worth and, as we can only assume, the unlimited access to any private investigators that he might possibly want, it’s very telling that Petra’s famous father has been unable to uncover Stunt’s true way of acquiring his wealth. Whether Petra knows isn’t information that she will likely be divulging any time soon either giving her unwillingness to even mention his name in interviews.
11 Petra Succeeded In Keeping Her Pre-Nup
Although Petra’s ex-husband, James Stunt, tried as hard as he could to tear up their prenup, he was ultimately unsuccessful. In fact, no one truly knows his net worth, although The Sun reported that Stunt “has amassed a substantial fortune, which was once rumoured to be between £3 billion and £4 billion.” In US dollars, that would put his net worth to about $4.5-$5.6 billion dollars, which is slightly hard to believe, given how hard he tried to go after Petra’s $500 million net worth. However, it was likely an attempt at grabbing some of his former father-in-law’s fortune instead, especially since, as reported by the Daily Mail, Bernie had previously “paid out one of the biggest settlements in British legal history when he divorced Petra’s mother Slavica in 2009, handing her £500 million.”
Just recently, Stunt has actually been on a major mission to prove that he has more than enough money and doesn’t need Petra’s fortune. While on a night out, he was caught on camera handing a stack of cash to a restaurant doorman, a gesture that came a mere month after showering homeless people with cash as well.
10 Not Doing Well For Years
Despite his reported $5.5 billion fortune, the facts just don’t add up for Petra’s ex-husband. As the Daily Mail reported, he had a couple of failed business ventures in 2011 and yet, still managed to retain his lavish lifestyle. Even his art company is suffering right now and yet he’s throwing cash at everyone he sees. In either a genius or dumb move, he had also made sure that his house with Petra was solely in her name, making us wonder the kind of shady ventures that he is actually hiding.
While he’s not about to clarify his finances, the only other person in a position of possibly doing so is Petra herself. Although it likely won’t be made public for a while, there is a good chance that they both signed non-disclosure agreements since both have been quite tight-lipped about each other.
9 Story Clearly Fails To Add Up
Not only is he clearly lying about the way in which he makes his money, but there is also the case of the alleged burglary. Denying time and time again that it was fake, he has stood firmly against the claim that he was the victim of Britain’s biggest burglary. As the Daily Mail reported, £90 million of cash and diamond jewelry and gold were allegedly taken from his home in Belgravia. He commented on the matter: “I've nothing to hide. I'm a victim with no upside to this embarrassment of having no insurance. It's disgusting how people are commenting that I'm a criminal. It's not true or fair. I just want whoever did this arrested and my things back.”
The curious timing of the burglary is interesting given that it happened right on the heels of his divorce and there are some that may wonder if it wasn’t a ploy to make himself appear considerably less rich than he truly is. Either that or he didn't want to give Petra back her jewelry.
8 The Case Of The Satellite Phone In Court
James Stunt’s sketchiness is further exemplified in his notorious satellite phone. No matter where he goes, he is nearly always photographed with it and no one has been able to figure out why the billionaire would have any need for it. Given that he is supposed to be just an art dealer, there would be absolutely zero reason for carrying a chunky satellite phone. While some adventurous people might opt for a satellite phone to ensure that they can stay in touch with civilization no matter how far into the mountains they might venture, for James Stunt to have a satellite phone in the city would be useless.
The logical explanation would be that he is relying high levels of encryption to keep his phone calls private, which is enough to make anyone wonder about the kinds of shady deals he might have going on. He will likely be disappointed when he finds out that satellite phones can now be cracked in a matter of seconds.
7 Stonewalled By Daddy
It’s clear that Petra’s father has been keeping the ex-husband away from his daughter. During the divorce, Stunt was quoted confiding to the Daily Mail: “If our marriage were to fail it would be a tragedy. The situation is deeply upsetting and very stressful for us and for our families.” Despite trying really hard to win Petra back, she just wasn’t having any of it… or rather, her father, Bernie Ecclestone, wasn’t.
However, Bernie did admit to Mail Online that Petra’s separation from him came as a result of Stunt’s overindulgence of illegal stimulants. “That has changed him and they have taken their toll. It is a great shame as James was a nice man when he got married,” he added. Strong allegations to make for sure and ones that haven’t been proven with clear evidence. However, multiple sources have pointed towards a drinking problem that would have affected his relationship with Petra on a physical level.
6 Running Away To Another Country
News of Petra escaping to another country was splashed all over the news for a while in England. Although she does hope to emigrate to America soon, the decision to uproot her family is still one that she isn’t taking lightly. As it is, she has already been splitting her time with kids between the two countries, but to officially would be a huge change. In particular, although the thought of a warmer climate and more relaxed atmosphere in LA is enticing, she is worried about the distance that she would be placing between her family as we as family and friends in the UK: “But then again, my family and friends are here,” she told the Daily Mail.
A hard choice for sure, but given her $4.2 billion net worth, surely she could hop on a private place any time that she fancies, the same way that we might call a cab to visit a friend across town?
5 Full-Time Custody
In a twist that the press didn’t see coming, Petra was actually awarded full custody of all three children. This is quite remarkable, given how her lawyers would have either had to present him as unfit or he would agree to it himself. In particular, the Daily Mail reported that the judge concluded: “After a hearing, I've ordered that the children will live with their mother Miss Ecclestone and I will make an order as to how much time they can spend with their father.”
It remains to be seen he will actually spend any time with them since the details of the custody agreement are unclear. If she does end up moving to LA, then that might also complicate matters. However, both of them do seem dedicated to doing everything in their kids’ best interests.
4 A Jab At Her With His Engagement
Mere months after their divorce was finalized, rumors already began swirling about Petra’s ex-husband’s newly engaged status. If that wasn’t enough, he allegedly plopped a huge sapphire on Samantha Rowley's finger after just a couple of dates, as reported by The Sun. The motivation behind such a spur of the moment decision would definitely be obvious for anyone examining the tabloids on this one.
All throughout his divorce court hearings with Petra, Stunt did everything he could to try to win her back. Neither she, nor her family, heeded to his pleas and yet, he just kept on trying to the point of refusing to move out their family home. As the Daily Mail reported though, he was eventually ordered to leave and also denied the possibility of moving next to her. He has yet to comment on the news.
3 She Is Moving On Too
Not to worry though because Petra has clearly also moved on, but unlike Stunt, it’s easy to say that her motivations are purer. Despite initially claiming to the Daily Mail that she was ready for the single life, looking forward to taking a shower alone and enjoying life, she rang in the New Year with a new beau. She definitely deserves it after the terrible year she had in 2017, and frankly all throughout her marriage to Stunt, but it’s nice to see her moving on.
On New Year’s Eve, Petra was photographed with her new boyfriend, Sam Palmer, a luxury car salesman. According to Hello Magazine, Palmer is an old friend of Petra’s sister’s husband.
According to the Daily Mail, Palmer is now living in Petra’s house. We wonder what Stunt thinks of this news?
2 They Have Vowed To Be Firm Friends
As reported by Hello Magazine, a spokesperson announced that: “James is committed to remaining firm friends with Petra and is concerned that the misleading media coverage of their divorce has not accurately reflected the issues which were in dispute.”
It’s a very admirable statement to make, but the fact remains that she has made no such statements. For her part, she has been dedicated to not uttering a single word about him, going so far as to not say his name at all in interviews. This definitely looks like a one-sided case, but at least, he appears to be trying for the kids. It might all just be for appearances though, since the media has already caught glimpses of this two-nature personality, going from totally calm to insulting at the drop of a hat.
1 But The Feud Likely Won’t End Soon
Time and time again, Petra’s sister, Tamara, has begged everyone involved to think of the kids: “I’m very, very protective of my family so my knee jerk reaction was to lash out a little bit. But with that being said I think that to be civil is the best for everyone involved and I think we should all take that approach."
Her pleas haven’t stopped Petra’s father or her ex-husband from exchanging constant jabs at each other through the press. In the very beginning of the divorce proceedings, her father, Bernie, was quote telling The Sun that his former son-in-law "put on a smart suit, did his hair, and looked presentable as we expected him to.” It might not sound all that bad, but there is still the presumption that he doesn’t normally dress sharp or take care of himself. He also later told the Daily Mail: “I used to like James. He was a nice guy. He used to be an honourable person. But now he is an idiot.’
For his part, Stunt hasn’t minced his own words either, calling his former father-in-law every name under the sun, along with making obscene gestures towards him in court and even calling him a “dwarf."
References: DailyMail.co.uk, RadarOnline.com, TheSun.co.uk, HelloMagazine.com and TheTimes.co.uk.