He's dated everyone from Cameron Diaz to Uma Thurman. So... Can Kylie tame the most toxic bachelor i
Posted: Nov 02, 2014
Nobody could deny that Kylie Minogue and Andre Balazs make a handsome couple. Balazs, a man about town best known for his celebrity-studded restaurants and hotels, is tall and dark with a penchant for suave suits and a touch of Gene Kelly in his muscular build and grace.
Kylie, now 46, remains almost impossibly adorable - a petite Tinkerbell in lavender frills, with baby-doll features and a pristine blow-dry.
Pictured together on Tuesday evening, the pair looked perfectly suited, exuding glamour with the air of confident serenity sported only by the seriously rich and extremely famous.
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After leaving a party for fashion designer Valentino together, they headed to Balazs’s London restaurant, the Chiltern Firehouse, arm in arm, appearing giddily made for each other.
The Aussie pop star was also at the restaurant on Monday night, although she left alone.
So could Hungarian-born Balazs, an eligible 57-year-old worth £300 million, be the answer to Kylie’s romantic woes? That seems extremely doubtful, given his status as one of Hollywood’s most eligible, but toxic, bachelors.
Let’s not forget that Kylie had her heart broken by cheating Gallic actor Olivier Martinez in 2007 and took years to recover.
It is hard to see in what world Balazs, who makes Martinez look like an amateur in the love stakes, could be the man to give Kylie the security she clearly craves.
One has only to glance at the roll-call of rich, famous and beautiful women he has romanced and parted from to work that one out. From Renee Zellweger to Sharon Stone, it seems there is no female celebrity who has not fallen at his feet at the merest flash of his dazzling smile.
Granted, Kylie must be ready for a new romance, having been single for a year since her break-up with male model Andres Velencoso.
At least Balazs is single, too, at this moment. He recently finished a two-year on-off romance with blonde chat-show host Chelsea Handler — Jennifer Aniston’s best friend.
But Kylie should remember that, while he is everyone’s favourite man about town, hailed in one magazine profile as ‘the king of it all’ for his money, celebrity and ability to create super-cool, star-studded eateries, he also has a reputation as a masterful flirt.
Only last month he was spotted unloading a truckload of charisma at the feet of Pippa Middleton, who was all giggles and hair-flicks over lunch at the Firehouse.
His former girlfriends include film star Uma Thurman, singer Courtney Love and actresses Renee Zellweger, Sharon Stone and Cameron Diaz.
That’s to say nothing of his dates with fashionista Daphne Guinness and model Naomi Campbell. Indeed, even rock chick Courtney Love, renowned for her wild ways, once observed that ‘he can be a bad boy’.
Before his hotel and restaurant empire took off in the 1980s — he now has eight hotels around the world, all adored by a loyal celebrity clientele - he appeared happily married to Kate Ford, the heiress to Eileen Ford’s model agency.
But as he began to mix with a new circle of starry friends and customers, he embarked on an array of equally starry relationships.
His toxic bachelor period began 11 years ago when he started dating Uma Thurman. Still married at the time, he divorced the next year.
For a time, Andre and Uma played happy families, seen regularly on the New York social scene and living on a huge country estate. They were even said to have got engaged late in 2006.
But there were off periods — and in early 2007, although the couple were reportedly planning a Caribbean wedding that summer, the relationship ended abruptly, for unknown reasons.
Not so Andre, who moved on quickly. By May he was seen on a date with Naomi Campbell, at an ultra-fashionable restaurant in New York. The two also attended the birthday party of Naomi’s model friend Kelly Bensimmon.
The following month, actress Cameron Diaz was seen giving him a ‘neck rub’ at the Chateau Marmont, the legendary hotel that he owns, which seemed to indicate a level of intimacy.
And at the end of the year came a dinner date with actress Renee Zellweger, after which they were reportedly seen slipping away to her apartment.
Then, in February 2009, he was seen ‘canoodling’ on a sofa with actress Sharon Stone at a post-Oscars party thrown by Guy Oseary, who manages Madonna - a good friend of Balasz.
Two months later he was seen ‘making out’, according to the New York Post, with Daphne Guinness at a party in New York for Topshop. They were also seen together at events in March and December that year, though neither has ever confirmed an affair.
Perhaps his most unlikely hook-up was with former heroin addict Courtney Love. The rocker dated him for about a year in 2010, after they had been friends for some 25 years on the New York social scene.
She said at the time: ‘I’m in love. It’s nice. Scary. I’m a great catch and he can be a bad boy but he loves me. He is the sweetest thing and he totally does respect me. His manners are impeccable but he’s funny, too.
- He has properties everywhere and has given me the key to his apartment. But what is better than living in his hotel?’
However, there was trouble in paradise. In May 2010 they had a public stand-up row in one of his hotels, the Standard in Manhattan, in the bar at the top known as the Boom Boom Room.
Andre stopped to chat to a woman he knew and witnesses say Courtney ‘hit the roof’. A report said: ‘It got so bad that the woman Andre was talking to got really embarrassed, and he had to apologise and walk away. By then Courtney was crying and screaming.
- Andre started shouting right back at her. They eventually got into a cab, but the few people left on the street at that hour were in shock.’
The liaison finally ran out of steam in December 2010. It seems an interview given by Courtney, in which she alleged she had enjoyed a lesbian fling with model Kate Moss, proved the final straw for her consort.
Soon afterwards, in January 2011, he began dating Chelsea Handler, an author and chat-show host. They were seen kissing in the corner at a party at the Sundance film festival. There were at least two break-ups in their two-year romance before a final split last October.
So who is Andre Tomas Balazs – and how has he ended up dating such a string of beautiful women?
Born in Budapest, he moved to America with his parents as a child after they fled Hungary and settled in Massachusetts and New York.
His parents were extremely successful immigrants — father Endre was an eminent research professor who taught at Harvard Medical School, while his mother Eva was a psychologist at the McLean hospital in Massachusetts.
Young Andre inherited their intelligence. He went to Cornell University, then took a Masters degree in journalism at Columbia, but opted to help his father run a biotech firm instead of entering the media. The company was enormously successful but in 1984, at the age of 27, he moved on to an early investment in a New York nightclub.
It was around this time that he met and married Katie Ford, the brunette daughter of legendary model agent Eileen.
The couple had two daughters, Alessandra, now 23, and Isabel, now 19. Katie joined her mother at Ford Models as creative director in 1992 and later CEO in 1993.
Meanwhile, Andre had found his metier with the nightclub. He had a knack of attracting the right people, making the right friends and concocting the perfect atmosphere. He decided to try his hand at running restaurants in New York, then started looking into hotels — and in 1990 made his name when he bought the fabled Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.
The cream faux-French chateau had an A-list history — Greta Garbo was a long-term resident, John Belushi died in one of the bungalows and Jean Harlow carried on with Clark Gable in one of the suites — but it had become shabby and unfashionable.
Under Andre’s guiding hand it was rebuilt top to bottom — but the great trick was that people thought it unchanged. Balazs told an interviewer: ‘People go in and say, "Oh, isn’t this amazing that they’ve kept it all?" But frankly there isn’t a surface there that’s original. A lot of it is creating a fantasy that everything feels authentic and just right.’
The place boomed, and he built on his success in 1997 by opening Sunset Beach on Long Island — a super-luxury hotel accessed by private seaplane — then, in 1998, The Mercer hotel in New York.
The Mercer was another hit with the rich and famous. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch lived there for a time, and he and former wife Wendi Deng modelled their New York apartment on its look. Designer Calvin Klein was a big fan, and actor Russell Crowe made headlines when he biffed the concierge with a telephone during a disagreement.
More recently, Balazs has opened the Standard hotels in Los Angeles, Miami and Manhattan. Again, these have become the hotels of choice for everyone from internet billionaires to supermodels.
All this success is down to one factor: Balazs, who has a passion for the very finest luxe and a mania for detail. And he is very, very well-connected — the backers of his London restaurant include Google chairman Eric Schmidt.
It is this diner, nightclub and hotel, The Chiltern Firehouse, that has propelled him into the spotlight again. It is made very much in his image - a marriage of posh and dosh - and packed with celebrities morning, noon and night.
Prince William’s ex-girlfriend Olivia Hunt was hired to run the club, and it’s all about being in the know — the smoking terrace is accessed via a secret door which is a mirror with the words ‘cigarettes’ and ‘men’ written on it in lipstick.
Now, however, Balazs in the spotlight not for his business but for his personal life, and his new link to Kylie Minogue.
Naturally, the pair are being discreet about what may be occurring between them. Kylie’s spokesman had nothing to say on the subject yesterday, nor did a PR for Balazs.
A mutual pal told me: ‘I believe they are just good friends and have been for ages. Andre knows everyone — he’s also very friendly with Lily Allen, for instance.
- I know Kylie has stayed regularly at his hotels in New York, and she has stayed at the Chateau Marmont, so she must have known him for years.’
That’s not to say, of course, that romance is not blossoming now. Though perhaps the real question is not what is happening between them, but whether Kylie is really wise to dine out with the man who has broken the hearts of some of Hollywood’s most beautiful women.
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Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing well those you hold. keep your friends close,but your enemies closer.