In the latest drama involving Viacom and Sumner Redstone, the 92-year-old executive chairman has split with his live-in girlfriend, Sydney Holland.
Sources say Holland, 43, was ejected from Redstone’s estate in Beverly Park last week. They say the rupture involved Redstone’s belief that Holland was involved in a relationship with another man. The move is significant because of ongoing speculation regarding the degree of influence that Holland and another longtime Redstone friend, Manuela Herzer, exert over the now-frail leader of Viacom and CBS Corp.
Through New York attorney Brad Rose, Holland issued the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter: “Sydney Holland and Sumner Redstone have had a caring and wonderful relationship for over five years. While Sydney would have liked the relationship to have lasted for many more years to come, relationships are dynamic and ever-changing and for a whole host of circumstances, the couple has parted ways.”
Holland now is staying in a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills. Rose added, “While rumor and innuendo will undoubtedly surface as a consequence of this breakup, at this time, Ms. Holland is very upset and has no further comment.”
A Viacom spokesman declined to comment, as did Herzer.
Holland met Redstone five years ago through Patti Stanger, host of the Bravo show The Millionaire Matchmaker, and quickly became a fixture in his life. She accompanied him to various Hollywood events and, in 2012, started her own production company, Rich Hippie Productions.
In May, Redstone’s former driver Tim Jensen wrote a column for THR claiming that Holland increasingly had taken control of the ailing Redstone’s life and had ordered Jensen to pick up millions of dollars from a Beverly Hills bank and deliver cash to various women around Los Angeles. On May 19, the New York Post reported that it had obtained “explosive emails” between Holland and attorney Andrew Katzenstein, who allegedly told her she already was “good for between $9 million and $10 million” as a result of her relationship with Redstone, in the phrasing of the article. That report also stated: “The raven-haired temptress, who once ran a millionaire matchmaker firm, bragged to a lawyer in 2011 that she was getting a gorgeous diamond ring and was ‘up to’ $3 million in the will.” (Holland’s then-attorney, Robert Shapiro, told THR that his client did not believe the emails were authentic. Shapiro no longer is representing Holland.)
Sources believe that Holland now has been removed from Redstone’s will, though those claims could not be verified.
As the two primary women in Redstone’s life (he is estranged from daughter Shari Redstone), Holland and Herzer appeared to be close friends, and on May 27, they threw Redstone a “Passion to Party”-themed birthday celebration at Vibrato Grill Jazz in Bel Air. Now, with Holland out, Herzer appears to be the primary influence over Redstone, who has not been seen in public since the birthday party and has missed recent Viacom and CBS shareholder meetings.
According to a June article in Vanity Fair, Holland had a privileged background in La Jolla, Calif. After a foray into fashion, she and an associate in 2004 advertised a dating service called “The Inner Circle VIP social club.” She fell into debt around that time. About a year before meeting Redstone, she became engaged to Callaway Golf sales executive Bruce Parker, who had battled addiction issues and died, according to his death certificate, of “acute cocaine toxicity.”
Holland, who was with Parker when he died, made an unsuccessful effort to become administrator of his estate, which was worth millions. After meeting Redstone in 2010, her money woes eased. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Holland described her devotion to Redstone. “Sumner is a very different and unusual person,” she said. “I’ve never noticed his age.”