Canadian fashion model Linda Evangelista, who is regarded as one of the top supermodels from the 1990s, reportedly praised the “courage and strength” shown by several women accusing her ex-husband, the model agency boss Gérald Marie, of sexual misconduct and rape. She was married to Marie between 1987 and 1993.
Speaking to the Guardian, Evangelista said she believed the women’s accusations. “During my relationship with Gérald Marie, I knew nothing of these sexual allegations against him, so I was unable to help these women,” said Evangelista. “Hearing them now, and based on my own experiences, I believe that they are telling the truth. It breaks my heart because these are wounds that may never heal, and I admire their courage and strength for speaking up today.”
As per the report in the Guardian, nine women, so far, have publicly accused Marie of sexual misconduct or rape. In September, prosecutors in France reportedly opened an investigation into Marie over allegations including rape from four women.
One of the accusers is Carré Otis, who alleged that she was 17 when Marie repeatedly raped her while she was living in the spare room of his apartment in 1986. Others who have filed criminal complaints in France include Jill Dodd, who alleged that Marie raped her in 1980; Ebba Karlsson, who alleged that Marie digitally raped her in 1990, and journalist Lisa Brinkworth, who claimed that Marie assaulted her when she was working on an exposé of the modeling industry for the BBC in 1998. Wendy Walsh, an American radio host, claimed that Marie raped her in 1980 when he was the boss of the French agency Paris Planning.
Marie’s lawyers, per the Guardian, said that he was “extremely affected” by the accusations made against him, which he firmly contests. “He intends to actively participate in the manifestation of the truth within the scope of the opened criminal investigation,” they said.
So, who is Gérald Marie?
Marie, 70, was president of the European division of Elite Model Management for 25 years. At its peak, the agency reportedly represented the likes of Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, and Cindy Crawford. More recently, Marie has been involved in Oui Management, a prestigious Paris agency whose models front Louis Vuitton campaigns and Vogue magazine covers. The company said Marie was not currently an employee. The Guardian, however, reported that documents suggested he remained an investor with “significant control” over the firm.