It was, if you will, a romance straight out of the movies: Paula Fortunato was a sassy New York City schoolteacher of 46. Sumner Redstone was a movie mogul whose 86 years were belied only by his occasional "senior" moments and the slight gobble flapping below his chin. For five years, they worked as a team: She helped him with important business decisions, like firing Tom Cruise at random, and encouraging him to drop his daughter Shari, 54, from the board of his company. "My wife is closer to me these days than my daughter," he told CNBC at the time. Aw. Then, Sumner fell on hard times: Last week, he was forced to dump $233 million worth of stock in Viacom and CBS to cover debts, and it is feared he may have to sell one of them to pay off a $800 million bank loan he took out on National Amusements. And now, he and Paula are divorcing, and he has to pay her $5 million to go away.
Possibly, some say, she is very disappointed with that sum.
That money is a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated $5 billion worth of her hubby, the chairman of Viacom and CBS, even if the financial crisis has taken a bite out of his fortune.
But like all Hollywood romances, there is a Hollywood ending: "After five and a half years together, we have amicably ended our marriage," Redstone said Tuesday in a written statement. "While this is a difficult decision for both of us, we remain close and supportive friends and are committed to each other's continued happiness and success."
Mmmhmm. We can't wait for the sequel.