Ghislaine Maxwell is a British socialite known for her involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein sexual abuse affair. The youngest child of publishing tycoon and fraudster Robert Maxwell, she moved to the United States after her father’s death in 1991 and became a close associate of the financier and subsequently convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell has faced persistent allegations of procuring and sexually trafficking underage girls for Epstein and others, charges she has denied.
Ghislaine Maxwell was born in 1961, in Maisons-Laffitte, France, the ninth and youngest child of Elisabeth (née Meynard), a French-born scholar, and Robert Maxwell, a Czechoslovak-born British media proprietor. Her father was from a Jewish family and her mother was of Huguenot descent. Maxwell was born two days before a car accident left her older brother Michael in a prolonged coma at age 15, unresponsive for several years until his death in 1967.
Her mother reflected that the accident had an effect on the entire family, with Ghislaine becoming anorexic while still a toddler. Throughout childhood, Ghislaine resided with her family in Oxford at Headington Hill Hall, a 53-room mansion, where the offices of Pergamon Press, a publishing company run by Robert Maxwell, were also located. Her mother said all her children were brought up Anglican. Moreover, Maxwell attended Marlborough College, and Balliol College, Oxford.
Maxwell was a prominent member of the London social scene in the 1980s. She founded a women’s club named after the original Kit-Cat Club and was a director of Oxford United Football Club, during her father’s ownership. She also worked at The European, a publication Robert Maxwell had started.
According to Tom Bower of The Times, in 1986 Ghislaine’s father invited her to visit his new yacht in a shipyard. And that was in Holland to celebrate its christening in her honour as the Lady Ghislaine. The Scotsman said Robert Maxwell had also “tailor made a New York company for her”. The company, which focused on corporate gifts, was not profitable.
Association with Jeffrey Epstein
Maxwell first met American financier Jeffrey Epstein in the early 1990s at a New York party following “a difficult break-up with Count Gianfranco Cicogna” of the Ciga Hotels clan. Similarly, Maxwell had a romantic relationship with Epstein for several years in the early 1990s and remained closely associated with him for decades afterwards. The nature of their relationship remains unclear.
In a 2009 deposition, several of Epstein’s household employees testified that Epstein referred to her as his “main girlfriend” who also hired, fired, and supervised his staff starting around 1992. She has also been referred to as the “Lady of the House” by Epstein’s staff and as his “aggressive assistant”. Moreover, in a 2003 Vanity Fair profile on Epstein, author Vicky Ward said Epstein referred to Maxwell as “my best friend”. Ward also observed that Maxwell seemed “to organize much of his life”.
In 2012, Maxwell founded The TerraMar Project, a nonprofit organization which advocated the protection of oceans. She gave a lecture for TerraMar at the University of Texas at Dallas and a TED talk, at TEDx Charlottesville in 2014. Maxwell accompanied Stuart Beck, a 2013 TerraMar board member, to two United Nations meetings to discuss the project.
The TerraMar Project announced closure on 12 July 2019, less than a week after charges of sex trafficking brought by New York federal prosecutors against Epstein became public. An associated, UK-based company, Terramar (UK), listed Maxwell as a director.
Since at least 1997, Maxwell has maintained a residence in Belgravia, London. Later, in 2000, Maxwell moved into a 7,000-square-foot townhouse on East 65th Street. And less than 10 blocks from her friend Epstein’s New York mansion. Likewise, she attended the wedding of Chelsea Clinton in 2010 as Waitt’s guest. Similarly, Maxwell helped Waitt obtain and renovate a luxury yacht, the Plan B. And used it for travel to France and Croatia before their relationship ended, in late 2010 or early 2011.
- Full Name: Ghislaine Maxwell
- Date of Birth: December 25, 1961
- Age: 58 years
- Birth Place: Maisons-Laffitte, France
- Nationality: British, American
- Education: Balliol College, Oxford
- Occupation: Socialite, businessperson
- Parents: Robert Maxwell (father), Elisabeth Maxwell (mother)
- Relatives: Christine Maxwell (sister), Isabel Maxwell (sister), Kevin Maxwell (brother), Ian Maxwell (brother)
- Siblings: Kevin Maxwell, Isabel Maxwell, Christine Maxwell, etc.
- Nephew: Jack Maxwell
- Net Worth: $10 million
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