Abramovich and Zhukova — Russia’s Most High Profile Split
Businessman Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova
Vyacheslav Prokofyev / TASS
Russia’s most famous celebrity coupling is over.
After a decade together, Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, and socialite art collector Dasha Zhukova announced on Monday they were splitting.
The 50-year old Abramovich, orphaned at a young age, emerged from Russia’s chaotic and brutish 1990s business scene with stakes in major metals and oil companies and now has a fortune of more than $9 billion, according to Forbes.
In contrast, Zhukova, 36, was born to wealthy and intellectual parents and studied in the U.S., where she launched a fashion brand. In 2008, she founded the Garage Contemporary Art Gallery in Moscow.
The couple reportedly met in 2005 and secretly married in 2009, but hid their relationship until the Wall Street Journal confirmed their marriage in 2015. They have two children.
Zhukova rubs shoulders with some of showbiz’s biggest names. Her Instagram includes pictures with TV personality Oprah Winfrey and pop star Katy Perry.
But it’s not just glitzy glamor. According to Vanity Fair, Ivanka Trump invited Zhukova to an inaugural party for her father, U.S. President Donald Trump, in January.
Abramovich, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has multi-million-dollar properties around the world and a 533-foot yacht, the world’s second largest.
With that kind of wealth, their separation could be among the most expensive on record.
Abramovich’s divorce settlement with his second wife Irina, with whom he had five children, was reportedly worth $300 million including cash and assets such as a house in Britain, a yacht and a plane.
Abramovich and Zhukova said in a statement to the press: “After ten years together, the two of us have made the difficult decision to separate, but we remain close friends, parents and partners in the projects we developed together.”
“We are committed to jointly raising our two children. We will also continue to work together as co-founders of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and the New Holland Island cultural center in St. Petersburg.”
Garage is also putting a good face on the news.
"Nothing will change in the work of the museum," the state-run news agency RIA Novosti cited the Garage press service as saying.