Diary of a Hollywood Wife in Europe: How DiCaprio and More Raised $40 Million in One Night
Irena Medavoy, wife of 'The 33' producer Mike Medavoy, writes of her star-studded European adventures this summer — from Venice to Cannes to St. Tropez.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
In July, I joined Jennifer and Sly Stallone and their daughters — USC student Sophia, Sistine (who was just featured in Town & Country as a new model to watch) and Scarlet — for an unforgettable trip on the Italian and French Riviera coasts. Sly was coming to personally donate and auction his signed Rocky gloves for Leonardo DiCaprio's amazing St. Tropez gala event — a fundraiser for the foundation he formed in 1998 to support organizations and initiatives dedicated to securing a sustainable future for our planet.
One week before the event, the Stallone clan and I (while my husband, Mike, stayed at home prepping for the Santiago, Chile, premiere of The 33, his movie based on the 2010 Chilean mining disaster, and our son, Nick, was playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball in Las Vegas) started our trip in Venice, staying at Hotel Cipriani, located on its own island with exquisite gardens that are a haven of peaceful solitude. We all took a gondola ride (three Stallone girls weigh one Medavoy girl, our winking gondolier, Jacopo, seemed to be telling me) to Harry's Bar, where the famed Bellinis and truffle pasta staved off the jet lag.
Cannes’ Tetou is known for its glamorous crowd and $170 bouillabaisse.
Being a sixth wheel is something, but being a Stallone sixth wheel in Italy is insane. The shouts of "Stalloneeeeeee! Stalloneeeeeee!" were insane. At one point, I thought I was going to be thrown into the canal and left behind by the shoving and crying crowds. Kudos to the gorgeous Mrs. S and the elegant girls — they handle it with such amazing love. They have a sixth sense of when it's going to get ugly and have exit strategies. A bodyguard helps, too. I also saw the "head down, sunglasses, keep walking and never break stride" method that celebrity families must follow as units.
The next morning, we had a private tour of the Guggenheim Collection, which was breathtaking. The late Peggy Guggenheim makes me think of one of our own contemporary art collectors, Alice Walton, whose Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark., will amaze generations to come. Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr arranged for us to have the honor of taking a private tour with Alice this year, and you can see the same dedication in both women to artists and their work.
The Orrs’ yacht Enchantress.
We then flew to Cannes to join Sybil (who produced the documentary Blindsight and is one of the producers of Warren Beatty's upcoming Howard Hughes movie) and her husband, financier Matthew, to stay on their floating Enchantress, just in time to have one of our favorite dinners — lobster bouillabaisse and tomato souffle at Tetou — and catch Bastille Day fireworks. We made a toast to Mike back home. I always remember going to Tetou on our honeymoon 21 years ago and seeing Martha Stewart taking photos of all the dishes. It's that good.
Sybil and Matthew are the true definition of grace and wit, and we settled into what would become an epic, unforgettable trip. We hit La Guerite on Ile Sainte Marguerite, which is like St. Tropez's Le Club 55 on an island where you can play boules and have grilled lobster — but unlike Club 55, you can only access it by boat. We ended lunch with hot green scuba men a la James Bond casing the island for their Saudi prince boss.
A Bellini and carpaccio at Harry’s Bar in Venice.
We were ready now for St. Tropez. Goldie Hawn came on board to join our Enchantress posse, and our party got even happier. At L'Opera, our first-night dinner in the port, we saw Ron Burkle, who had come in for Leo's gala. In an "only in St. Tropez" moment, Uzi-like gunfire broke out and Angelina Jolie look-alikes ran onstage to try to take you hostage while you drank your Cristal champagne in masks — and no one blinked. For one instant, I honestly did not know what was happening. Until they started gyrating, I thought, "Great. … This is how it ends?" Next to us, there was a family from Georgia — the country, not the state — singing their national anthem and wanting to take photos of their favorite movie star. Make no mistake: We were in St. Tropez. The all-night party atmosphere had begun.
We started seeing people all over town who had come for Leo's big fundraiser. We ran into investor Tom Barrack, Harvey Weinstein, Orlando Bloom, model Irina Shayk, Adrien Brody and Kate Hudson. Then producer Maria Bell, Larry Gagosian, photographer and businessman Jean Pigozzi, Wendi Murdoch, philanthropist and investor Nicolas Berggruen and Paul Allen. We would see them all the next night at the gala.
Sybil and Matthew bought the best table at the event, and we were excited to share the night with Leo and 500 other guests at the winery Domaine Bertaud Belieu. For those of us who are used to the most glamorous events in the world, this one topped them all. Even the flowers, which were the most serene blues with whites and purples, had a glamorous story behind them — they were done by the stunning Ukrainian model Alina Baikova, who also is a floral artist. Flowing freely was the special Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation rosé wine from Bertaud Belieu. There is something about a St. Tropez winery. Mike and I were married in St. Tropez at Chuck and Red Barris' home, Maison Tres Cher, and there is nothing like a winery at night. It's sensual and earthy. Like the event. This was a glamorous setting for the gala. There was love all around for Leo and his dedication to our Earth, and the generosity of the night showed the true nature of our business. Elton John raised $3 million by auctioning off himself for two private concerts. My husband, Mike, and hotelier Richard Bailey donated a week at the Brando Hotel in Tetiaroa (the world's first 100 percent eco resort in Tahiti), including a private tour with Tetiaroa scientists. It went for 81,000 euros to a friend of Monaco's Prince Albert II. Prince Albert himself bought Sly's gloves for 400,000 euros. Every auction item was a one-of-a-kind, with Tom Barrack getting a villa on Leo's new eco-island resort, Blackadore Caye, in Belize for $11 million. The night was brilliant in the change it will bring to the planet. Through his foundation, Leo has already given at least $15 million this year to wildlife conservation efforts, helping to save elephants, whales, penguins, wolves, mountain gorillas and many more animals across the globe.
Kelly Rohrbach (left) and Hudson at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gala’s cocktail hour.
We were at the airport by 6 a.m. while our friends were still dancing the night away at the gala — as we were leaving, we got the news that $40 million was raised in one night. Now that was reason enough to let us feel this summer glow all year long.
Three days later, Nick and I were in New Haven, Conn., at Yale Elite Basketball Camp (when we visited during spring break, it was 22 degrees; this time it was 100 degrees including humidity), then we had a break on Nantucket with Nick's godparents, Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman, before the Brown Elite Basketball Camp. And Mike was on a plane to open The 33 at La Moneda, the presidential palace in Santiago. The 33 is set for release on Nov. 13 in the U.S., which is my late mother's birthday. But for now, we are all on countdown to Tetiaroa, where we will get one week together as a family at The Brando before Mike goes off for a month on location in Spain. I understand why Marlon wanted to live on Tetiaroa, which is our paradise. There is nothing like it in the world.