Liliane Bettencourt was a powerhouse in the beauty world and one of the wealthiest women on the planet. She was the queen of L'Oréal, the makeup giant that has presumably earned global recognition and a giant market.
Liliane wasn't just handed the keys to the cosmetics kingdom; she worked for it. Born in Paris in 1922, her dad, Eugene Schueller, kickstarted the L'Oréal legacy with synthetic hair dyes back in 1907. By the time Liliane was 15, she was already learning the ropes of the family business. Fast forward, and L'Oréal products were spreading their glamour in 17 different countries.
The L'Oréal Legacy
In 1950, Liliane added a new chapter to her life by marrying André Bettencourt, who would later dip his toes into politics. After her father's passing in 1957, Liliane became the big cheese of L'Oréal, owning the lion's share of the company. L'Oréal then went on a shopping spree, acquiring big names like Lancôme, and Helena Rubinstein, and even partnering up with Ralph Lauren. This resulted in Liliane becoming one of the richest women globally.
But Liliane wasn't just about makeup and money. In 1987, she and her family founded the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller, a charity powerhouse focusing on making the world a better place through humanitarian, medical, and cultural initiatives. A beauty mogul with a heart, if you will.
Now, let's dive into the drama. Liliane was usually a low-key character, avoiding the media spotlight. However, in 2007, she found herself in a high-profile scandal. Her daughter accused a celebrity photographer, François-Marie Banier, of taking advantage of Liliane's vulnerability. The scandal not only strained mother-daughter relations but also put Liliane under the legal guardianship of her family in 2010.
What unfolded further was that secret tapes from the dispute revealed Liliane's involvement in a tax evasion scheme that sent shockwaves through the French government. This wasn't just a beauty queen; she had political ties too. The scandal had heads rolling in the government, with the labour minister and even former prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy getting caught in the storm.
Liliane Bettencourt Wasn't Just A Name
So, Liliane Bettencourt wasn't just a name on a cosmetics label. She was a business tycoon, a philanthropist, and, inadvertently, a central character in a real-life political thriller. Beauty, drama, and intrigue – the life and times of Liliane Bettencourt had it all. The heiress of L’Oréal, who passed away at the age of 94 in September 2017, has become the focal point of Netflix's documentary series titled The Billionaire, The Butler, and The Boyfriend. This series delves into the events surrounding the Bettencourt Affair. She was a force to be reckoned with in the worlds of business, fashion, and politics. Her legacy lives on through the beauty empire she helped shape, and her story continues to inspire those dreaming big in the business world.
Suggested reading: The Billionaire, The Butler, And The Boyfriend S1: 10 Things To Know