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A scandalous divorce: the heir to Porsche separates from his wife with dementia and dates the ex-wife of the Aga Khan

The German press assures that Wolfgang Porsche, who will turn 80 in May, maintains a public relationship with Princess Gabriela of Leiningen, who is 59 years old and a friend of his for a quarter of a century

Michael Kaefer
From left to right, Claudia Hübner, Wolfgang Porsche and Gabriela from Leiningen at a party in February 2018.picture alliance / getty (Felix Hörhager)
María Porcel

Their cars are synonymous with luxury, but also with elegance, sophistication and discretion. On the other hand, beyond money, the Porsche family does not seem to share these characteristics with its flagship products these days. Wolfgang, third generation of the saga, chairman of the Board of Directors of the carmaker and with an estimated fortune of more than 20 billion euros (according to Bloomberg they are “the most powerful family in cars”), has recently become the protagonist of a scandal that has reached the pages of German newspapers and not precisely because of the economic results of his company. His private life, with a divorce and an alleged aristocratic romance involved, is now exposed throughout the continent’s press.

In mid-March, and through a spokesperson, Porsche, 79, announced his separation from his wife of four years, Claudia Hübner, 74, although they had been in a relationship for more than 15 years. The wedding took place in 2019 at the Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, where the mayor of the city married them, since the couple lived halfway between it and the also Austrian Zell am See. Four children of the two previous Porsche marriages attended the ceremony, as well their four grandchildren, Hübner’s only daughter and her own four grandchildren.

A couple of years ago, Hübner fell seriously ill with dementia, which has caused her mental and physical health to deteriorate rapidly. She was a professor of Civil and Criminal Law, as well as a councilor for the city of Stuttgart and later an adviser to the German Government. Now she can hardly move on her own. According to German media such as Bunte or T Online, citing sources close to the family, the illness was one of the main reasons Porsche filed for divorce. The couple no longer lives together, and since 2021 Hübner has lived with her daughter Louisa in Kitzbühel, in the Tyrol region.

While his almost ex-wife spends her days cared for by four caregivers who watch over her 24 hours a day, Porsche continues his work as chairman of the board of the family business, a position he has held since 2007. Wolfgang became the spokesman of the group after the death 25 years ago of his father, Ferry, who was arrested for collaborating with the SS, and who was the only son of his grandfather Ferdinand, founder of the company and an engineer allied with Hitler, for whom he built tanks. In addition to his current position, he was also a member of the boards of Volkswagen and Audi for many years. In addition, he runs “an organic alpine farm with about 200 cattle,” as the company itself explains in its biography, and has an extensive collection of cars, Porsche, of course, especially unique, “which he drives regularly.”

News of the divorce caused a certain stir among the German and Austrian high society, but even more so when it was revealed that another of the main reasons for the separation is a new and alleged relationship between Porsche and his friend of 25 years, Princess Gabriela of Leiningen, née Thyssen. At 59, Leiningen is a former model, philanthropist, Unesco advisor and television collaborator who even participated in Germany’s Eurovision pre-selection in 1986 (where she came last).

Begun Aga Khan, the wife of Indian Prince Agha Khan
Gabriela de Leiningen, when she was the wife of the Aga Khan, in the Pardo palace at the dinner prior to the wedding of today's Kings Felipe and Letizia, on May 21, 2004.Bernardo Rodríguez (AFP)

The princess has been married twice. The first was with Karl-Emich, prince of Leiningen and head of the Romanov house (eternal claimants to the extinct throne of Russia), with whom she has a 30-year-old daughter, Theresa. The Leiningen family never looked kindly on that union and disinherited Karl-Emiche.

But her second and most famous marriage was to the fourth Aga Khan in May 1998; she has a son with him, Aly, 21 years old. Gabriela and Shah Karim al-Hussayni (now 86 years old) separated in October 2004. He is a good friend of King Emeritus Juan Carlos of Spain, a spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims (a small branch of Shiism with barely 15 million followers), and has an estimated fortune of $1 billion. The princess, who converted to Islam when she got married so she could be the begum Inaara, discovered in 2002 that her husband was being unfaithful when, thanks to a private detective, she discovered that he had gone on vacation to Tanzania with another woman in their private plane. Their divorce was estimated, two decades ago, at about $200 million. Gabriela auctioned for $20 million more than half a hundred of her jewels, including a diamond and emerald necklace from Cartier valued at about $3 million.

After her separation from the Aga Khan, the princess — who decided to keep the title that her first marriage gave her — dated Jürgen Kellerhaus, heir to the separated empire of the technology giant Media Markt. But that was in 2019. Now, according to Bunte, the princess and the strong man from Porsche have been seen at parties in Munich for a few months, where they have presented themselves as a couple, and at the beginning of the year they went on vacation to Maldives. On April 1, Gabriela will be 60 years old; on May 10, Wolfgang will turn 80. Perhaps a lavish birthday party will finish making their no less lavish romance public.

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