Not two years ago, New York’s upper downtown crust was raising their eyebrows at artist and society darling Julian Schnabel’s unusual living situation. He was divorcing from his statuesque wife, Olatz Schnabel, who was still living in his eccentric Palazzo Chupi in the West Village, while at the same time taking up with Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal — whom he was keeping under the same roof! The couple lives together openly now, but all is not quite copacetic in the Family Schnabs. According to a Times profile today, son Vito refused to talk about Jebreal, and daughter Stella, after initially resisting because she didn’t want to make her “father mad,” only managed to offer up some backhanded compliments.
“I think she was waiting for it for a long time,” Ms. Schnabel said of Ms. Jebreal’s move, adding that though she “knows how to operate,” there are endearing moments of greenhorn-ness. “It’s cute because she doesn’t know the Lower East Side, or I’ll tell her we’re going to 14th Street and she’ll head downtown, it’s sweet,” she said with a kind giggle.
But Jebreal denies that she’s moved into the multimillionaire artist’s life to move up in the world. She discusses the idea from their shared living room in the palatial pink Palazzo:
A large Roman tapestry covered the back wall of the room. A stuffed bear, fangs bared, stood watchful in the corner; a grand piano, above which dangled a candy-pink and blue Murano glass chandelier, occupied the middle of the stone tiled floor.
“I don’t know who plays piano actually,” Ms. Jebreal said. “That just arrived a few days ago. New things arrive every day here.”
But she insisted such material trappings were unimportant to her.
Luckily she’ll never have to test that claim: Think about how dirty that would make his silk pajamas!