She was once one of the most famous and glamorous women in the world, a household name, a regular fixture on prime-time television, and, unfortunately for her, an 8-time divorcee - her name was Zsa Zsa Gabor.
If you've watched some of my earlier segments on celebrity elder financial abuse, you already know that multiple marriages often lead to problems with estates and trusts, usually because of step-children. In the case of Zsa Zsa Gabor, however, she had only one child, a daughter named Francesca Hilton, by her second marriage to Conrad Hilton, Sr. in 1942. Surprisingly, in Zsa Zsa's case, it was her ninth marriage in 1986, to a man named Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, that ultimately caused her life to careen into a spiral that would eventually lead to a court case and charges of elder financial abuse against her husband.
When he met Zsa Zsa in 1986, he had already been married eight times before, and he was 26 years younger than she. Anhalt himself had a checkered career. He is reported to have "adopted" as many as 10 adult males (who each would have paid him $2 Million) in order that they might use his Prinz von Anhalt title. From the money Gabor made in show business, and that Anhalt's made in his side business of selling titles, the couple lived well, if a bit eccentric, in Bel Air, California.
As the years passed, the relationship between Anhalt and Zsa Zsa's daughter Francesca deteriorated. By the time Zsa Zsa was 94, Francesca and Anhalt finally went to war. Francesca sued Anhalt for isolating Zsa Zsa from friends and family, heavily sedating her, and for profiting from her assets. In 2012, Francesca asked a judge to appoint a conservator to oversee her mother's finances. She claimed that Anhalt took out a $700,000 loan against Zsa Zsa's house in Bel Air, and that he was not paying the mortgage.
In court papers she wrote:
"I am very concerned that her medical needs and treatment are not being managed in her best interest. I also believe that my mother now may suffer from a loss of intellectual and emotional faculties, which may be induced by the medication my mother is being given."
Whatever the truth of the situation, Francesca did not live long enough to see the lawsuit through to completion. She died in 2015 at the age of 67 from a stroke. Zsa Zsa was never told of her daughter's death because, according to Anhalt, he was afraid it would be too upsetting for her. Zsa Zsa herself passed away in December 2016, nearly two years later, at the age of 99.
Anhalt, who claimed Francesca stole Zsa Zsa's will, didn't need one. After Zsa Zsa and Francesca both died, he inherited the entire Gabor estate after all. Elder financial abuse or just a family feud? In this case, we'll never know for sure.