On Christmas Day, Princess Martha Louise of Norway posted a photo of a shiny bauble hanging in snow to her Instagram account with a festive holiday message: “May you be filled with love, generosity and blessings.”
What the princess appeared not to know as she wished joy to her 47k followers was that her ex-husband, author Ari Behn, had suicided on the same day. He was 47.
Because she was marrying a commoner, the fourth in line to the throne gave up her almost $1.5 million annual allowance and official membership in the royal family.
“It’s with great sorrow in our hearts that we, those closest to Ari Behn, must report that he took his own life today,” his manager Geir Hakonsund told Norwegian news agency NTB on December 25.
The King and Queen said in a statement Behn was “an important part of our family for many years, and we carry warm, fond memories.”
Martha Louise, a friend of Hollywood stars including Gwyneth Paltrow who calls herself an “agent of change” on social media, made no immediate comment.
Now dating US “spiritual guide” to the stars Shaman Durek, the 48-year-old princess spent Christmas Day with other Norwegian royals at their lodge near Oslo, according to reports.
Behn struggled with royal life during his 15 years of marriage to Martha Louise, revealing in 2009 he was an alcoholic who feared he wouldn’t see his three daughters grow up.
“It’s like I’m never really able to connect with anyone,” he told Massiv magazine.
“I’m going to die without the company of anyone, but without being lonely and bitter.”
Behn also made headlines in 2017 when he accused Oscar winner turned Hollywood pariah Kevin Spacey of groping him at an event hosted by Uma Thurman for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
“We had a great talk, he sat right beside me. After five minutes, he said, ‘Hey, let’s go out and have a cigarette,'” Behn told radio station P4 about the incident, according to the BBC.
“Then he puts his hand under the table and grabs me by the balls.”
Spacey, who resurrected House of Cards’ Frank Underwood in a creepy Christmas video (“I’ve made some changes in my life”), did not respond to the allegations at the time.
A playwright and novelist, Behn lived with Martha Louise in London and rural Norway after their controversial wedding, welcoming daughters Maud, 16, Leah, 14, and Emma, 11, before divorcing in 2017.
“We are human,” Princess Martha Louise said while announcing their official split.
The couple, she said, tried “everything in their power to make the marriage work” and “it’s unspeakably sad for both of us to discover that the road ahead doesn’t run as it once did.”
In his 2017 Massiv interview, Behn revealed his alcoholism, saying he “often” started drinking “around 1.30pm … It’s a bad habit I’ve picked up.”
He feared his demons meant he would “not be able to complete the project I have started with my wife, namely to raise three wonderful daughters to become independent, wise individuals,” Behn said.
During a PR interview with newspaper VG for his last book, 2018’s Inferno, he said he was “yesterday’s news” and was seen by many as “a clown” and “a fool.”
After divorcing Behn, Martha Louise found new love with self-proclaimed “spiritual guide, healer and global ambassador of love” Shaman Durek, 44, aka Derek Verrett.
He introduced her to showbiz royalty including Paltrow, and the princess went public with their relationship on Instagram this May, calling the shaman her “twin flame”.
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Some evenings are simply magical. And sharing those moments with people you love is simply a touch of divinity. I am so thankful to you, my eternal love @shamandurek, for bringing me to the place you love the most on the planet. The place where you feel nurtured and at home. So breathtakingly beautiful, my heart starts to sing with joy. And sharing it with family and friends expands the senses even more. #familylove #lovefamily #turkey #bodrum
A post shared by Märtha Louise (@iam_marthalouise) on
In August, the Norwegian Royal Household announced Martha Louise had agreed to stop using her royal title for business after she and her boyfriend did a speaking tour called The Princess and the Shaman.
“It was a mistake,” Martha Louise admitted.
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