Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Real-Life Sleeping Beauty

Sunny Crawford Auersperg von Bulow; American heiress,
international socialite; twice almost murdered by her husb-
and, Claus.

Martha "Sunny" von Bulow, heiress to a fortune of over $75 million, was forty-nine years old when she was found lying on the marble floor of her bathroom at her summer residence, 'Clarendon Court' in Newport, Rhode Island, unconscious and unresponsive ~ completely entranced in a coma. Though autopsy reports suggest the coma was a result of a drug overdose, traces of hypoglycemia were found in her system, leading some to suspect foul play on the part of Sunny's second husband, Claus. This was not the first time this had happened to Sunny. Only a few months before, Sunny had been found lying unconscious, her unconcerned husband sitting next to her, reading the newspaper. Other suspicious behavior had occurred from Claus, like telling anyone that would listen that Sunny had a drinking problem, something which many found curious, since Claus was known for buying his wife lavish gifts of whiskey and champagne. In addition, Claus was also seeing a mistress, Alexandra Isles, who demanded he get a divorce from his rich and beautiful wife. Sunny also talked about getting a divorce, saying she was holding her husband back. It appears the only person who had a problem with divorce was Claus.


Claus and Sunny von Bulow 
A trial was summoned, with Sunny's children from her first marriage, Ala and Alex, and her personal maid, Maria, along with the Auersperg and Aitken (Sunny's mother) team of lawyers representing the prosecution. Claus and his team made up the defense. The trial was the talk of Newport, with many of Sunny's neighbors along Bellevue Avenue taking their stance against Claus. In the end, Claus was found guilty on both accounts of trying to murder his wife. An appeal was held, and Claus was found not guilty. To this day, Sunny's family remains convinced that Claus is guilty. Ten after the appeal, Ala and Alex filled a $56 million civil lawsuit on their mother's behalf. An agreement was settled out of court; Claus agreed to divorce Sunny, give up all claims to her fortune and leave the country, on the one condition that his daughter, Cosima (Sunny's only child with Claus) be reinstated in her grandmother's will. Annie Laurie Aitken, Sunny's equally wealthy, remarried mother, had disinherited her third grandchild from her estate when she sided with Claus. As according to the agreement, Cosima inherited $30 million as her one-third share when her grandmother died in 1983. For 28 more years, Sunny lived on, still raptured in the never-ending coma, in the seedy New York City nursing home she was placed in on the day of her coma, guarded by round-the-clock armed bodyguards, eventually dying of cardiopulmonary arrest in 2008, at the age of 77. 

To read the entire story, please click HERE

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