It’s been a remarkable few years for disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Once the top dog at Miramax and The Weinstein Company, Weinstein is the mind behind two generations of pop cultural benchmarks, including such films as Sex, Lies, and Videotape, The Crying Game, Pulp Fiction, and Shakespeare in Love.
Actors who wanted to win Academy Awards watched for Weinstein projects to attach themselves to, and for decades, a phone call from Weinstein to a director could make or break a career. In October of 2017, after dogged reporting by The New York Times and The New Yorker, the public finally learned how Weinstein had wielded his power: he was a serial sexual abuser.
In The Times, Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey documented claims that Weinstein had been paying off women he’d sexually harassed or assaulted for decades. High profile women like Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan went on the record with stories that were extremely similar to those offered by lesser known women who had worked for Weinstein or otherwise found themselves in positions to be victimized by him.
Ronan Farrow, writing in The New Yorker, brought to light more abuse allegations, including allegations of rape, and disclosed that Weinstein had hired a foreign intelligence firm called Black Cube to target his victims and gather information against them that could be used to discredit allegations they may make.
It took very little time for Weinstein to go from one of the biggest forces in Hollywood to persona non grata. A strange and self-serving statement released by the producer was met with general scorn by the public, and within days, Weinstein had been fired by his own company, expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, suspended from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and was under criminal investigation in Los Angeles, New York City, and London.
A dam had broken, and the code of silence that he had used for decades to shield his misbehavior was cracked. More than 80 women would eventually come forward to accuse him of various types of sexual misconduct.
There is also the matter of his family. Harvey Weinstein has been married, and now divorced, twice. In 1987, he married Eve Chilton, his one-time assistant, and had three daughters with her before they divorced in 2004. Uncomfortably, the year before, he had met and began dating an English fashion designer named Georgina Chapman, who would become his second wife in 2007.
Chapman had co-founded the Marchesa line with her friend Keren Craig after the two had graduated college and spent a little time in the job market. They were living in London, and Chapman had been doing costume design for music videos to support herself.
In 2004, they rented a studio and started imagining a line of loungewear. As fate would have it, they were invited to a Louis Vuitton party soon after. They made their own outfits for the occasion, and magazine editor Isabella Blow was so taken with Chapman’s dress that she borrowed it for a function afterward. Blow took a shine to the young designers and opened a lot of doors for them.
Chapman had met Weinstein at a party, and the two may have hit it off in part because to her, he wasn’t famous. “I had no idea who he was,” she would explain later. “He’s not a person you can sort of ignore or brush off. He’s incredibly charming and charismatic, it sort of draws you in.”
In no time, she was jet setting between London, Los Angeles, and New York with her boyfriend. Weinstein’s connections were exactly what Marchesa needed, and after Renee Zellweger donned a Marchesa dress for a premiere in London, Neiman Marcus came calling asking if they could create a line for its stores. Success continued; by 2016, Marchesa was worn by more actresses on red carpets than any other label.
It’s not contested that Weinstein’s influence played a role in that, in spite of what would come of his marriage. He and Chapman also had two children, in 2010 and 2013.
When the allegations against Weinstein broke, it took Chapman little time to leave him. Weinstein even said he supported her decision, although it’s hard to take that assertion entirely at face value. Chapman talked to Vogue magazine about this period later. “I lost ten pounds in five days,” she said. “I couldn’t keep food down. My head was spinning.
And it was difficult because the first article was about a time long before I’d ever met him, so there was a minute where I couldn’t make an informed decision. And then the stories expanded and I realized that this wasn’t an isolated incident. And I knew that I needed to step away and take the kids out of here.”
She took their children first to Los Angeles, where the three of them stayed with friends, and then to London to be closer to her family. Her divorce from Weinstein was completed in 2018, just as New York City charged Weinstein with “rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women.”
He surrendered to police on May 25, 2018, and was released on $1 million bail after surrendering his passport, agreeing to wear an ankle monitor, and limiting his travel to within New York and Connecticut.
The Weinstein trial in New York didn’t happen until 2020, and on February 24, after five days of deliberation, the jury convicted him on two counts. In March, he was sentenced to 23 years in prison, a sentence that he said he would appeal. Meanwhile, he also faces rape charges in Los Angeles, with a trial pending.
In the aftermath of her ex-husband’s conviction, Chapman has become a bit more visible to the public. Marchesa is back on the approved list for the red carpet after Scarlet Johansson wore it to the Met Gala in 2018, and now there’s news that Chapman herself is dating actor Adrien Brody.
She continues to worry about her kids and the effect that their father’s crimes – and famous name – may have on their lives. Sometimes, a divorce isn’t enough to separate you from your ex’s issues, but you still have to muddle on.
If your marriage in Queens is ending, the team at Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino can help you get to the other side in the best shape possible. Call us today at 718-523-1111 for a free consultation with an experienced Queens divorce and child custody attorney.