Thursday, April 1, 2010

LVW Col: Inside The Wynn Divorce

We've all wondered for a while what the deal has been with the Wynn divorce. Finally, I asked. And here's the answer. Or about as much of the answer as anyone's ever really going to hear on the record. You'll be able to hear all about it, too, on this week's podcast with Steve Wynn. More on that tomorrow. First, the column. -sf

The loving dissolution
of Mr. and Mrs. Wynn

Inside perhaps the most expensive,
possibly the most civil,
divorce ever



Up to now, I had never asked. Sure, I’m as curious as anyone, but there are so many more important topics to discuss with both Steve and Elaine Wynn that, in my past interviews with them, it seemed ridiculous to waste precious time. But last week, for some reason, Steve was in a very giving mood. Early in our interview, he’d said two very kind things about the woman he officially divorced late last year, so I couldn’t help it.

“I have to ask, and if you don’t want to answer, I understand, but you clearly still have a very good relationship with Mrs. Wynn,” I said.

"She’s my buddy, she’s my best friend,” he intoned. “I love her.”

For many people—especially those of us who have endured ugly breakups that did not involve billions of dollars—this may seem baffling. Steve Wynn became involved with British divorcee Andrea Hissom while he was still wed to his wife of 46 years. He hardly even kept the relationship a secret, and within a year he and Elaine were divorced. Yet she remained on the board of Wynn Resorts, she took up residence in a different villa at their Wynn-Encore property—both paying rent to the publicly traded company, in fact—and life seemed to carry on.

In fact, a few months ago I found them eating together at the Sinatra restaurant at Encore during the week their divorce would be finalized. They seemed to be in intense conversation, so I didn’t say hello until I thought Elaine had departed. But then she returned, and I found they had precisely the same comfortable chemistry I’d observed in the past. When they left Sinatra, the visionary with the degenerative eye disease gripped her elbow for guidance as I’m sure he’s done thousands of times before.

In the intervening months, America baffled over the affectionate relationship of another prominent ex-couple, James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow. As desperately as Us Weekly and that ilk wanted to gin up a feud between the Oscar-nominated directors, it fell flat, because they just kept being so darned caring toward one another in the press.

Yet Cameron and Bigelow have been divorced for many more years than they’d been married. And while they explained that they had just realized they weren’t suited for one another, Elaine and Steve Wynn were, in fact, perfectly suited for one another for nearly a half-century. They met as teens, built a family and more than one empire together. They’d even divorced once before, in 1986, only to remarry in 1991. At their second reception, Mr. Wynn quipped, “We regret to inform you, the divorce did not work out.”

So far this time, it did work out, and the Wynn dissolution offered up all the ingredients for a really dishy drama.

Read the rest HERE