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Who is Mrs Harvey Weinstein? Meet the woman behind Hollywood's most hated man.

Mamamia logo Mamamia 6 days ago Helen Vnuk

Video provided by A Current Affair

British fashion designer Georgina Chapman remembers the first time she met her future husband Harvey Weinstein, in the south of France in 2004. It doesn’t sound much like other encounters between the Hollywood producer and beautiful young women.

“I was with girlfriends when we met at a party,” she told the Daily Mail in 2015. “I wasn’t looking to meet anyone; I was still getting over someone. I was wandering around the room quite lost when I met Harvey. He made me laugh and invited me for lunch the next day at the Hôtel Majestic Barrière in Cannes. I couldn’t find the hotel; I was two hours late and remarkably he was still there.”

Image: Getty © getty Image: Getty

Chapman grew up in a wealthy family. Her father Brian made millions from his coffee business, while her mother, Caroline Wonfor, was a journalist. At school she battled dyslexia and needed extra tutoring. But she always knew she wanted to design.

Chapman studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design, where she met her future business partner Keren Craig. At college, she supported herself with waitressing and other jobs, till she was scouted as a model. She made ads for products such as Head And Shoulders, and later started scoring small roles in TV shows and movies, including a 2002 telemovie about Jeffrey Archer, the series Rosemary & Thyme, and the movie Bride & Prejudice.

In 2004, Chapman and Craig launched their own fashion label, which they named Marchesa and ran out of Chapman’s flat. When they got calls from American stores saying they wanted to stock their designs, the pair moved to New York. That gave Chapman a chance to renew her “friendship” with Weinstein, who had recently split with Eve Chilton, his wife of 17 years and the mother of his three children.

At first, Chapman and Craig were working on machines at night and dyeing fabric in bathrooms. But their label took off, big-time, when Renee Zellweger wore a Marchesa dress to the UK premiere of Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason. Zellweger had just won an Oscar for one of Weinstein’s movies.

Star of the film Renee Zellweger arrives for the UK charity premiere of Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason - in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care - at the Odeon Leicester Square in central London. (Photo by Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) © getty Star of the film Renee Zellweger arrives for the UK charity premiere of Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason - in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care - at the Odeon Leicester Square in central London. (Photo by Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

When Weinstein was asked about the rumours that he had pulled strings to get Marchesa off the ground, he told The New York Times, "The people who say things like that are just jealous. It takes away from the talent that Marchesa has exemplified."

But he admitted he did have a hand in it.

“Maybe I helped, but just very, very little, with Renee Zellweger.”

Soon Marchesa didn’t need help from anyone. The label was being worn by all the big names: Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Emma Watson, Miley Cyrus.

In 2007, a month after Weinstein proposed, he and Chapman got married. The bride wore a dress she’d designed herself. Guests included Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Murdoch and Quentin Tarantino. Instead of gifts, guests were asked to make donations to charity.

Chapman and Weinstein had a daughter, India, in 2010, and a son, Dashiell, in 2013.

Over the years, Chapman has raved in interviews about Weinstein, who is 24 years her senior. She’s talked about how devoted he is to their children – how he puts them to bed at night, and takes them to work with him when he can.

“As a private man, Harvey is a dedicated husband and father, and he’s amazing with my parents,” she told The Sunday Times last year. “He and my mum have the most hysterical relationship – he’ll take her to the theatre and they always discuss books and movies.”

She described him to the Daily Mail as “smart, funny, and the most interesting man I have ever met”. But she has always been aware that not everyone has the same opinion of Weinstein as she does.

“I try not to read the bad things about him, but I do feel protective,” she added. “That said, I don’t think you can be as successful as Harvey and not get knocked.”

But in the past week, it’s all come crashing down for the couple. In an expose in The New York Times last Thursday, eight women, including Ashley Judd, alleged Weinstein had sexually harassed them.

Image: Getty © getty Image: Getty

Weinstein quickly hit back in an interview with The New York Post. He claimed Chapman was standing “100 per cent behind me”.

“Georgina and I have talked about this at length,” he said. “We went out with [lawyer] Lisa Bloom last night when we knew the article was coming out. Georgina will be with Lisa and others kicking my ass to be a better human being and to apologise to people for my bad behaviour, to say I’m sorry, and to absolutely mean it.”

Following the expose, more women, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, came forward to make allegations against Weinstein.

It was too much for Chapman. This morning she released a statement to People.

“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions,” she said. “I have chosen to leave my husband.

“Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time.”

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