81-year-old Austrian billionaire Richard Lugner has become renowned since 1991 for paying beautiful and famous women vast sums to accompany him to the annual Vienna Opera Ball. Last week Lugner, affectionately known as ‘Concrete’ because of his ties to the construction trade, wed his 24-year-old bride, former Playboy Bunny Cathy Schmitz.
It was a Disney-like wedding that Vienna will remember for years, no matter how hard it tries to forget. Four white-plumed Lipizzan horses pulled a carriage containing the Sugar couple with a 57-year age difference.
The reception was just as lavish and garish, with the bride and groom releasing two symbolic white doves into the air, at the historic Schonbrunn Palace.
Lugner was decked out in top hat and tails, but don’t be fooled by his seemingly sad expression – he always looks like that thanks to plastic surgery he had done on his eyelids to try and make himself look like George Clooney.
‘Apart from a big age difference, everything fits,’ said the veteran Sugar Daddy of his fifth marriage. Now the question on everyone’s lips does the new marriage mean and end to the oddest and tackiest date in the international showbusiness calendar?
Over the years, Lugner has shelled out vast wads of cash to women such as voluptuous Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, Joan Collins, Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch, Grace Jones, Faye Dunaway and even Sarah, Duchess of York
Jacqueline Bisset, Farrah Fawcett, Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell have all had the dubious pleasure of spending an evening at the Vienna Opera Ball with Lugner, a trip that also includes an obligatory tour of his local shopping mall, Lugner City.
Sugar Daddy Lugner is snubbed by old money in Austria, who see him as a flashy, publicity-obsessed parvenu. He obviously doesn’t give a hoot, starring in his own TV reality show, going to other balls in drag and even forming his own political party at one stage.
This year Lugner, who barely speaks a word of English, dropped a reported $500,000 to have nonie other than Kim Kardashian to hang on his arm at the ball, though that didn’t turn out so well; Lugner said KK was “annoying” and Kim ended up storming out when she was approached by a racist man in black face, pretending to be her husband Kanye West.