Christina Estrada is demanding nearly £200million from her Saudi billionaire ex-husband to spend on homes, dresses, jewellery and travel told a court yesterday she needed the money to fund ‘the life I am accustomed to’.
The former Pirelli calendar girl Christina Estrada, 54, denied that £21,000 a year on footwear was ‘a lot’ and said she needed 35 watches a year to match her outfits.
I need £21K for shoes, £40K for furs and £9K for face cream says model in £196M divorce. She is also claiming an annual travel budget of £2.1million, including nearly £600,000 to charter private jets and £247,000 to book the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Hotel in Paris for an October half-term break – plus £74,230 for the nanny’s room.
Questioned by Justin Warshaw QC, representing her ex-husband Dr Walid Juffali, she said: ‘I am Christina Estrada. I was a top, international model. This is what I am accustomed to.’
US-born Miss Estrada’s appearance at the High Court in London was punctuated with table-banging and tears as she was questioned on her demand for a £196million divorce settlement.
Cross-examined by Mr Warshaw as to why she is demanding £55million for a new London home, she said properties on the market for under £15million could not meet her needs. He pointed out a £6.5million Belgravia property near Sloane Square, but Miss Estrada said: ‘It is too small to accommodate our staff.’
When Mr Warshaw observed that the property had five bedrooms, Miss Estrada replied: ‘I wouldn’t want to be living right next door to my staff.
Quizzed on her claim for a ‘holiday entertainment’ budget of £160 a day for 76 days a year, said to be based on the price of opera tickets for La Traviata, Miss Estrada insisted she regularly visits the opera. But when asked to name another, she said ‘The Nutcracker’, which, as Mr Warshaw pointed out, is a ballet.
She is seeking £28,000 a year for three tickets to watch Wimbledon, £482,416 to rent a yacht for two weeks – plus 10 per cent to tip the crew – and nearly £600,000 to charter private jets.
Dr Juffali’s lawyers have described her demands as ‘firmly in gasp territory’. The 61-year-old has been unable to attend court as he has lung cancer.
Miss Estrada broke down sobbing in the witness box during the cross-examination. She said she was tired after a phone call from her 13-year-old daughter who said she would be left ‘a poor girl’ if her mother pursued her claim.
Miss Estrada defended the vast settlement she is claiming, insisting she wanted to ‘stand up for women’. Asking about her demand for a £58,000-a-year budget for boots and shoes, Mr Warshaw said: ‘Can you not see that that is a lot of money?’ She replied: ‘Not really. That is what they cost. That is the standard I am used to.’ Asked why she was claiming for 35 watches a year, she said she needed them because ‘it depends what I am wearing and needs to go with my outfit’.
Mr Warshaw asked what she would do with the settlement. Miss Estrada said: ‘I want to do good work. I have always been interested in charity, philanthropy – and I love humanitarian causes.
The court heard that Dr Juffali had made a ‘living will’ leaving their daughter assets of more than £150million.
It is his second expensive divorce battle. He paid £40million to his first wife after their 24-year marriage ended in 2000, when he began a relationship with Miss Estrada.
They married in 2001, but in 2012 the model discovered he had secretly married Loujain Adada, a Lebanese model 32 years his junior. Under Islamic law he can have four wives, but he divorced Miss Estrada in 2014 in the Muslim way by saying ‘I divorce you’ three times.