Ghislaine Maxwell: Here's the dark truth behind her family as the Jeffrey Epstein case continues

Ghislaine Maxwell has lived a very unusual life. Here's everything you need to know about the disgraced socialite.

Disaster has followed Ghislaine Maxwell her whole life, here’s her dark family history
© Dimitrios Kambouris / GETTYIMAGES
Disaster has followed Ghislaine Maxwell her whole life, here’s her dark family history

TW: mentions of sexual and child abuse

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The internet has been blowing up over the last 24 hours as documents have been released identifying associates of the notorious criminal Jeffrey Epstein. It is important to note that these names are not necessarily those of people who have done anything wrong; some of them only appear on the list because they were mentioned in passing at legal proceedings.

However, one name that has repeatedly been spoken in relation to Epstein is that of Ghislaine Maxwell. Epstein was arrested for trafficking minors back in July 2019. He was found dead in his jail cell a month later, on 10 August. Ghislaine was found to be guilty as his accomplice. She was sentenced in June 2022 to 20 years imprisonment but has always maintained her innocence, with the support of her family, and is appealing her conviction.

Ghislaine led a very unusual life from the moment she was born. Here’s the story of her dark family history, her secret marriage, and the eerily similarities between her father and her lifelong companion Jeffrey Epstein.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s upbringing

Ghislaine was born on Christmas day in 1961. Just three days later, her brother Michael got into a car crash at 15 years old. He spent the remaining 7 years of his life in a coma. Ghislaine’s mother Betty admitted in her memoir that Ghislaine was neglected during her first few years of life as her parents came to terms with the accident. Betty believes that Ghislaine developed anorexia at a very young age and from that moment on, her mother and father Robert went to the other extreme and spoiled their youngest child.

Ghislaine’s father Robert Maxwell is said to have been vicious at home, verbally and physically abusing his children as he filled the role of the draconian father. Though Ghislaine was not spared his dinner table knowledge tests or the beatings of his belt, she was clearly his favourite.

Robert Maxwell’s suspicious death

Robert Maxwell was born Ján Ludvík Hoch in 1923 in Czechoslovakia. He lost most of his family to the Holocaust, escaped to the UK during WWII, and changed his name. He entered the British Army, then moved into publishing. In 1984, Maxwell purchased Mirror Group Newspapers, which included six British newspapers, one of which being the Daily Mirror. He considered himself a rival of Rupert Murdoch, and went up against him on several bids for publications as he expanded his empire.

However, he ran into financial problems, and it was later discovered that he had stolen money from his other companies and employee pension funds to cover his billion-dollar debts at the Mirror Group.

Days before he was set to meet with Bank of England representatives, Maxwell went missing from his luxury 180-foot yacht Lady Ghislaine, named after his favourite daughter. 14 hours later, his naked body was discovered. His death was officially ruled to have been caused by a heart attack combined with drowning, and though Ghislaine’s two brothers and two sisters have accepted the accident, Ghislaine has always believed that someone killed her father.

After Robert Maxwell’s death ‘two of Ghislaine's brothers, Ian and Kevin Maxwell, were tried with financial crimes related to their father's businesses in 1996’, according to Business Insider. They were later acquitted, and now keep a low profile.

Ghislaine and Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine became known as an Oxford-educated socialite, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Prince Andrew and Donald Trump. She was in a romantic relationship with Epstein in the 90’s, and remained a close associate with him until his arrest and death.

Sarah Ransome, who says she's also victim of Epstein, told the BBC’s Panorama programme:

Ghislaine controlled the girls
She would be the one getting all the girls in check. She knew what Jeffrey liked… this was very much a joint effort.

The circumstances around Epstein’s death caused a lot of suspicion and, similarly to Robert Maxwell, his passing made it very difficult to pinpoint his wrongdoings.

The journalist John Sweeney, who investigated the Epstein case in his podcast Hunting Ghislaine, suggested her apparent involvement in his trafficking ring stemmed from her relationship with her father:

You can't understand what happened with Jeffrey Epstein without understanding her relationship with her father.
The truth is that Ghislaine learned to service her father and then had to service a second monster - that's what she's done her entire life.

Ghislaine’s secret marriage

Though she is often considered the girlfriend of Epstein, Ghislaine actually married another man in secret in 2016. They hardly told anyone - including Ghislaine’s devoted family. However, her entrepreneur husband Scott Borgerson ended things while Ghislaine was in solitary confinement. He revealed via a phone call that he was seeing someone else; a yoga-teacher and mother of two, that he had been spotted kissing publicly.

Ghislaine continues to deny the charges against her or any involvement in the recent release of the list of names. Her attorneys, Arthur L Aidala and Diana Fabi Samson, have stated:

She is confident that she will obtain justice in the second circuit court of appeals. She has consistently and vehemently maintained her innocence.

More is likely to come out about her apparent involvement as the case continues to be investigated.

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Sources used:

The Guardian: Jeffrey Epstein: documents linking associates to sex offender unsealed

New York Post: Ghislaine Maxwell’s husband dumped her for yoga teacher in jailhouse call: report

BBC: Who is Ghislaine Maxwell? The story of her downfall

Business Insider: A death in the Atlantic, a media empire that once had $4 billion in debt, and a yacht named Lady Ghislaine: Take a look at Ghislaine Maxwell's family history

Prince Andrew's shocking move in sex abuse case has upset the royal family Prince Andrew's shocking move in sex abuse case has upset the royal family