Categories: French Notables.
||Liliane (Schueller) Bettencourt is managed by the French Roots project.|
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Liliane Henriette Charlotte Betsy Schueller was born in Paris, France, on 21 October 1922. She was the daughter of L'Oréal founder Eugène Schueller and his first wife, Louise Madeleine Berthe Doncieux. Her mother died when she was only five years old. She was raised by Dominican nuns.
At the age of 15, Liliane joined her father's company as an apprentice, mixing cosmetics and gluing labels onto L'Oréal's bottles of shampoo. Secretly, her father was a supporter of the fascist group La Cagoule. Despite this, she married the group's member, Andre Bettencourt, on 8 June 1950 in Vallauris. The Bettencourt family eventually settled at a mansion in Neuilly-sur-Seine. They had a daughter, Françoise, on 10 July 1953. Françoise would later marry Jean-Pierre Meyers, a grandson of a rabbi who died in Auschwitz.
Liliane inherited L'Oréal's fortunes when her father died in 1957, thus becoming the principal shareholder. Although she continued to own most of L'Oréal's stakes, her company went public in 1963. In 1974, she exchanged half of her stake for a three percent stake in Nestlé.
In 1987, François-Marie Banier was commissioned to photograph Liliane and Federico Fellini for the magazine Egoiste. Throughout the years, she became friends with Banier, being his benefactor.
In December 2007, one month after her husband died, her daughter Françoise filed a criminal complaint against Banier. The case against Banier was opened as a result, and the scandal became known as L'affaire Bettencourt.
In June 2010, while the scandal was still ongoing, several details of the scandal contained in 21 hours of tape recordings by Liliane's butler, Pascal Bonnefoy, became public. In July, the scandal widened further as Claire Thibout, Liliane's former accountant, made allegations that several French politicians affiliated with Nicolas Sarkozy received illegal payments from her.
On 8 December, the series of lawsuits finally ended with Françoise reconciling with her mother. Liliane eventually broke up with Banier and removed him from her will.
On 8 June 2011, it was reported that Françoise filed an application to make her mother a ward of the state. On 17 October, a judge ruled that Liliane was to be placed under the guardianship of her family. As a result, Françoise and her two sons gained control of her mother's wealth and property. Liliane sold her private island, D'Arros Island, to a Seychelles-registered business in August 2012.
Liliane Bettencourt passed away on 21 September 2017, in Paris. At the time of her death, she was the richest woman in the world, with a net worth of $44.3 billion according to Forbes' "The World's Billionaires".
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