Albert II, Prince of Monaco sits on the Monegasque throne—and a mountain of scandals so tall that it dwarfs the Alps. Whether he was cozying up to supermodels or wining and dining young tennis stars, he just couldn’t stay out of the tabloids. Read these scandalizing facts about Albert II, Monaco's consummate Prince Charming.
Prince Albert II was born in March of 1958. His father was Rainier III, Prince of Monaco but it was his mother who was the real royalty—Hollywood royalty, that is. Albert II’s mother was the legendary film star, Grace Kelly. The two of them had something of an awkward relationship. It’s probably fair to call it Oedipal.
By the time he was in his teens, Albert II had already developed an international reputation as a royal pain in the you-know-what. But he didn’t start out that way. He was, once upon a time, a boy scout. Kind of. He was a camper and later a camp counselor at the prestigious Camp Tecumseh in New Hampshire. Then he went rogue.
Albert II fit the bill of the perfect prince charming. He was handsome, intelligent, spoke tons of languages, lived in a palace, and, of course, he was richer than triple chocolate cake. He was also a star athlete. The prince excelled in javelin throwing, swimming, tennis, rowing, sailing, skiing, and judo—just to name a few. What was the catch?
As if “Hereditary Prince of Monaco” wasn’t enough of a title for Albert II, he was also a five-time Winter Olympian. The prince represented Monaco in the two-man and four-man bobsled events between 1988 and 2002. Sadly, charming the pants off of supermodels and film stars wasn’t an Olympic event back then, so he never medalled.
Albert II’s interest in sports might have had more to do with his female co-athletes than with a love for healthy competition. When he was 19 years old, Albert II met American actress Cathy Lee Crosby at a tennis tournament. The actress was ten years his senior, but that didn’t stop the two of them from making a “match,” if you catch our drift.
Albert II’s mother, Grace Kelly, was less than impressed with her son’s romantic dalliance with the much older Crosby. Something about seeing her son, a Monegasque prince, with a blonde film star like she had been, must have felt a little too close for comfort. She demanded that he end the “courtship” right away. Plus, she had someone better in mind.
From the time that he was barely out of puberty, Grace Kelly took an unusual amount of interest in Albert II’s love life. The Hollywood legend was obsessed with finding the perfect match for her son. By the time that Albert II was playing “hide the racquet” with Crosby, Kelly had all but decided that her son would marry Princess Astrid of Belgium. But the best-laid plans of princes and movie stars often go awry...
Albert II wasn’t interested in his mother’s pre-arranged plans. In fact, he only seemed interested in pursuing more girls. The prince caused another stir in the ultra-traditional Monegasque royal family when paparazzi snapped pictures of him snuggling up with African American singer Michelle Freeman. However, that scandal quickly gave way to another one.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that no one parties harder than an attractive royal bachelor. And, when he was young, Albert II was the most eligible bachelor there was. After sparking a tabloid frenzy with Freeman, Albert II upped the ante at a party in Monte Carlo, allegedly pushing all 35 guests into the pool. No word on the bathing attire.
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Try as she might, Grace Kelly couldn’t stop her son's romantic escapades. The playboy prince was just too much for Europe to handle, so she shipped him off to Amherst College, a private liberal arts college in Massachusetts. There, Albert II studied political science and it appeared, to the outside world, like the “wild” had left the “child.” Or did he just get better at hiding it?
Albert II was a total “gleek” long before Lea Michele and Naya Rivera made it cool. The Monegasque prince was a member of the Amherst College Glee Club. Former “gleeks” include Dan Brown, David Foster Wallace, and Calvin Coolidge. It really seemed like Albert II had turned over a new nerdy leaf—but behind closed doors, he was still a playboy prince.
Amherst College was close enough to New York City for Albert II to find trouble. And find it, he did. While in New York on a royal tour, the young prince cozied up to beauty pageant winners and local news anchors. The scandal sparked tabloid rumors that Prince Al was getting it out of his system before finding a princess to settle down with. That wasn’t far from the truth.
Albert II’s constant romantic scandals might have made him a disappointment to his mother. Despite the fact that he was excelling at Amherst—and at parties and womanizing—Grace Kelly still worried about Albert II’s future romantic prospects. In an ominous 1981 interview, she said, “Premature gray hair can be hereditary. You get it from your children.”
Sadly, Kelly wouldn’t live to see whether or not her son would ever settle down with the right woman. In fact, she wouldn’t even live to see Albert II graduate and go on to his Olympic career. When Albert II was 24 years old, Kelly passed away in a tragic accident that would leave his family deeply and permanently scarred. And that was just the beginning.
Grace Kelly’s untimely demise devastated the entire Monegasque royal family. His sister, Princess Stephanie, had been in the car at the time of the accident and suffered feelings of guilt for years. And according to Albert II, his father, Rainier III, was “never the same man” after. Meanwhile, Albert II found his own troubling coping mechanism...
Whereas most people suffering from grief turn to the bottle to mourn the passing of a loved one, Albert II went on a dating spree. Not long after his mother’s passing in the 1980s, Albert II started dating Cecilia Peck, the daughter of Gregory Peck. Gregory had been close friends with Albert II’s mother, so maybe he found a connection there? But Cecilia didn't last long—Albert II was just getting started.
Albert II’s many sordid love affairs read like a who’s who of Hollywood. There are rumors that Albert II dated the much older actress, Jean Simmons, supermodel Janice Dickinson, and Deborah Moore, the daughter of James Bond actor Roger Moore. Yet despite intense media interest, Albert managed to keep most of the details of his affairs quiet…most of them.
Albert II didn’t exclusively date Hollywood royalty; he also dated real royalty. There are rumors that, at some time in the 1980s or 1990s, Albert II might have dated Catherine Oxenberg, the daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia. Oxenberg herself is either first, second or third cousin to just about every royal alive today. Maybe they looked at their family trees and decided it wasn't going to work out?
Just because Albert II had more flings than Casanova didn’t mean that he wasn’t also a sentimental, helpless romantic. In fact, his romantic nature is probably what got him into—and promptly out of—relationships all the time. According to one of his many, many former flings, it was his “wandering eye” that got him into trouble. And he wasn't exactly discreet about it...
It was the French actress, Catherine Alric, who spilled the beans about Albert II’s “wandering eye”. When Albert II tried to apologize for ogling other women on their dates, Alric wasn’t having any of it. She returned the bouquet of flowers he had sent her along with all of his luggage and a note that read, “Love without faithfulness is like a flower without sun.” Ouch.
Alric wasn’t the only one of Albert II’s former lovers to call him out publicly. Albert II briefly “dated” Real Housewives of New York City star Sonja Morgan. The evidence? In an episode of the hit TV series, Morgan claimed to have left her “skirt” at Albert’s palace in Monaco. Don't believe us? Well, take that up with Sonja!
Albert II was comfortable dating princesses and reality TV stars alike. He didn’t judge—though he probably should have. In a 1991 interview, adult film star Teri Weigel claimed to have had a one-night stand with Albert II. She said that she bedded the prince by playing hard-to-get. The palace wished she had played harder.
Albert II continued his habit of using sports to find eligible bachelorettes. He joined the International Olympic Committee in 1985 and the rumors began circulating immediately. German tabloids reported that Albert II had a three-year-long affair with French-Russian Olympic ice dancer, Marina Anissina. He could at least have given her a medal for her trouble...
In 1988, Albert II took an interest outside in sports outside of the Olympics. Allegedly, the smooth-talking prince wined and dined the 17-year-old tennis star Gabriela Sabatini at the French Open. He gave her chocolates and flowers, but don't worry; that was the extent of it. He did, after all, have a thing for older women.
Especially Hollywood stars that reminded him of his mother.
Albert II appeared at a celebrity tennis tournament alongside American supermodel, Brooke Shields. The tennis “couple” sparked excited rumors that another gorgeous Hollywood star would be joining the Monegasque royal family. Flirtatious though they might have been, however, they were just doubles partners—with benefits.
Not all of Albert II’s former love affairs ended with sordid and unflattering tabloid rumors. In fact, some of the details that his lovers leaked to the press were downright complimentary. Patrizia Pellegrino, an Italian actress, told People magazine that Albert II was “the most wonderful of lovers” after an alleged tryst in 1983.
Albert II—and the whole palace press corps—was so focused on keeping the details of his personal life out of the tabloids that he missed the most obvious danger. With all of those affairs, it was only ever going to be a matter of time before his escapades “paid off”. And, as we know, Albert II had a whole lot of escapades...
In 1992, Albert II’s carnal habits finally caught up with him. Californian waitress Tamara Rotolo filed suit against the Monegasque prince, claiming that he was the father of her newborn daughter, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi. Albert II fought the suit and ultimately had the judge throw it out on procedural grounds. But Rotolo wasn’t going anywhere.
Rotolo might have lost the suit on a technicality, but she knew her case was strong—because she knew that Albert II’s “swimmers” were strong. In May 2006, Rotolo brought forth irrefutable proof that her daughter, Jazmin, was in fact a Monegasque royal, even if an illegitimate one. A paternity test confirmed that Albert II was the father.
Charming as he was, there was nothing princely about refusing to accept responsibility for his daughter. And when the paternity test gave him no choice, his excuse was totally ridiculous. Albert II claimed that he had effectively disowned his daughter for 14 years to “protect her privacy”. He was, however, willing to make amends.
As far as anyone outside of the Monegasque royal family knows, Jazmin was Albert II’s first child—and he was determined to do right by her after neglecting her for so long. He invited Jazmin to study and live in Monaco and he also agreed to “support” her. But, because Jazmin was born out of wedlock, she’ll never be in the line of succession for her father’s crown.
Apparently, there’s nothing more attractive than an aging prince charming with an illegitimate daughter, because Albert II’s love life soon kicked into high gear. Albert II rarely spoke on the rumors surrounding his romantic life—that would have been a full-time job. But, in 1997, he did confirm the rumors that he took German supermodel, Claudia Schiffer, out on a couple of dates.
Albert was a private guy, but if you take Claudia Schiffer out, you've just got to brag about it.
Schiffer wasn’t the only supermodel cozying up to Albert II. There is actual photographic evidence of Naomi Campbell feeding a balding Albert II by hand. Though to be fair, it's unlikely that the two actually dated; Albert II looks just as surprised as everyone else! Additionally, he may have been “spoken for” at the time…
American actress and model Bo Derek went on a date with Albert II. She later boasted about it in an interview with Larry King, saying, “I have to say it was really fun walking in. I mean, to walk into a restaurant and a nightclub with him was hilarious. People—the food was falling out of people's mouths. It was fantastic.”
Not all of Albert II’s conquests thought he was quite so charming, even if he did sweep them off their feet. For example, Albert II literally swept Australian singer Kylie Minogue off her feet—and she wasn’t having any of it. She said, “I was a bit surprised to feel his hand caress my backside when he put me down. It was a bit embarrassing.”
Even into his late 40s, Albert II got to play the part of the jet-setting, playboy prince. But his carefree days came to a quick devastating end. Albert II’s heartbroken father, Rainier III, passed away in April 2005 after a prolonged illness. For Albert II, that meant that his playboy days were over and his princely days had begun. Kind of.
Just as the tiny principality was getting over Rainier III’s passing and getting ready to celebrate Albert II’s coronation, another scandal erupted. This time, a Togolese flight attendant by the name of Nicole Coste upended the proceedings with a shocking claim. She alleged that Albert II was her son’s father. And she had the receipts.
DNA tests proved that Albert II was, in fact, the father of Alexandre Coste, the infant son of Nicole. Instead of fighting the allegations as he had with his first child, Jazmin, Albert II sent Nicole and Alexandre to live at his apartments in Paris hoping to keep the whole thing as quiet as possible. But the ruse wouldn’t last.
Albert II had sent Nicole to live in Paris under the guise that she was the girlfriend of his friend and that Alexandre was the result of that affair. But, days before his coronation, pictures emerged of Albert II lovingly holding the Alexandre in his arms. To avoid further scandal, Albert II publicly acknowledged Alexandre as his son. Good call too, because life was about to get complicated enough as it is.
After a three-month period of mourning—and baby drama—Albert II wanted to begin his reign in style. He couldn’t exactly host a wild pool party like he had in years gone by, but he could still throw an ultra-swanky bash. The new crown prince hosted a garden party at his palace and invited only the 7,000 people born in the tiny tax-haven municipality of Monaco.
Albert II formally accepted his royal duties in November of 2005 with a massive coronation ceremony. The entire Monegasque royal family was in attendance, along with delegations from 16 royal families from across the world. But, after the ceremony, Albert II didn’t just sit around and issue orders from the throne. He got moving.
Perhaps he was trying to escape his princely duties or, more likely, perhaps he was trying to escape his paternal duties. Either way, after his coronation, Albert II took off. In April 2006, he traveled all the way to the North Pole, becoming the first-ever incumbent head of state to make the dangerous trek. He probably should have stayed there.
Of all of Albert II’s one-night stands, flings, summer romances, and casual dalliances, he probably loved few women. But one woman who he certainly loved was model and humanitarian Tasha de Vasconcelos. They dated on and off between 1998 and 2005 and nearly tied the knot on two separate occasions. But de Vasconcelos wasn’t the woman to tame Albert II.
It wasn’t until 2006, when he was 48 years old, that a woman finally made an honest man of Albert II. That year, he met Charlene Wittstock, a South African-born former Olympic swimmer. As they were both former Olympians, the two made their relationship public at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics. But trouble was just around the corner.
Albert II and Wittstock announced their engagement in 2010 and set a date for the wedding in July of 2011. Just when everything seemed like it was finally settling down for Albert II, it all fell apart. A French magazine reported an allegation that Albert II had fathered yet another illegitimate child. The palace denied the “ugly rumors”—credibly so, for once—but the damage was done.
The same French magazine reported that the planned marriage between Albert II and Wittstock might not go ahead, and they made their claim just one week before the wedding, reporting that Wittstock was getting cold feet and that she had even tried to flee Monaco in late June of that year. Once again, the palace denied the rumors—but this time, there may have been some truth in them.
Whatever drama was happening inside the palace in the weeks leading up to the marriage is a mystery. But, in July 2011, the royal marriage between Albert II and Wittstock went ahead as planned. Calming Wittstock’s nerves might have had something to do with the 18-karat gold, 1,200 diamond-studded, pear-shaped pearl necklace Albert II gave her.
Or maybe it was love?
According to reports from the wedding, Wittstock was a gushing bride—and we mean that in the literal sense. Allegedly, Wittstock was in tears throughout the entire wedding ceremony. It’s not entirely clear if those were tears of joy or sadness. Or, potentially, tears of exhaustion from that heavy necklace weighing down her shoulders.
Albert II and Wittstock managed to keep a low profile for a while—until 2021, when Wittstock went on a trip to her home country of South Africa. While there, she contracted an ENT illness that prohibited her from flying above 20,000 feet. Her condition effectively grounded her in South Africa, away from her family in Monaco. But there was another reason for Wittstock’s absence.
Doctors finally cleared Wittstock for travel in March of 2022 and she returned to Monaco—though she canceled all of her duties. According to news reports, however, the real reason for her absence had more to do with marital problems than with her health. Allegedly, Albert II had to pay Wittstock $12 million a year for her to agree to return to Monaco.
It might have dawned on Albert II that his constant womanizing might have had something to do with his mother’s untimely and tragic accident. Like he was on a never-ending journey to seek her approval through dalliances with other famous Hollywood stars. In 2016, Albert II tried to get over his Oedipus complex by purchasing his mother’s childhood home in Philadelphia—the same place where his father had proposed.
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