Ailing media mogul Sumner Redstone, the billionaire behind CBS and Viacom, has become “a living ghost” in his final days, according to Manuela Herzer—his one-time girlfriend/longtime caregiver who was recently cut from his will.
Much has been made in the past about 92-year-old Redstone’s relationships with women. Previously, his ex driver told the Hollywood Reporter that one of his duties was to deliver millions of dollars in payouts to Redstone’s many “kept” girlfriends. Last June, Vanity Fair published a story by William D. Cohan about Herzer and Redstone’s then-girlfriend Sydney Holland (who was introduced to Redstone through Millionaire Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger). Together, Herzer and Holland had been left in charge of Redstone’s end of life care and eventual funeral arrangements. Both women were reported to inherit $75 million upon his death—with inheritance taxes paid by Redstone’s company, National Amusements Inc.
Since the Vanity Fair article, everything that as of last summer seemed so locked in place has fallen apart. In a truly fascinating follow-up in the April 2016 Vanity Fair, Cohan reveals that Holland has been kicked out of both Redstone’s home and will, following an affair with an actor/ex-con. Herzer, too, has recently been barred from his estate and cut from Redstone’s will due to mounting tensions between her, Redstone’s lawyers, his business partners, and his daughter—along with Redstone’s increasingly failing health.
According to Herzer, who filed a suit to be reinstated as Redstone’s sole health care agent last November, Redstone has lost almost all physical control (he eats through a feeding tube) and mental acuity. He communicates through grunts and moans that, seemingly, can only be interpreted by a male nurse named Jeremy Jagiello.
“I have requested many times to see him. They will not let me see him. He is a prisoner in his own home,” insists Herzer in her court filings. Redstone’s family argues otherwise, saying his refusal to see Herzer is entirely his choice.
In an equally salacious revelation, Cohan writes that—according to his sources—the ailing (possibly delirious) Redstone has, in the past several months, become sex obsessed, allegedly keeping sexual partners on retainer and regularly calling old girlfriends to his sick bed:
In Malibu, Herzer claims, Redstone became obsessive about wanting to have sex. After his wife Phyllis initiated divorce proceedings, in 1999, he had gone on a dating spree, meeting with a slew of beautiful women, often with Herzer’s help. According to the onetime close friend, one of those women remained on retainer with Redstone, getting $5,000 a month at the gate to Beverly Park whether she saw him or not. In Malibu, Redstone relentlessly called out for her, demanding that she come over. But she didn’t answer her phone. Back at Beverly Park, ...Redstone continued to pine for her. She showed up, but “he can’t have sex, so it’s all in his head, right?” says the onetime friend. “How can a guy with a feeding tube who can’t move have sex? There’s no sex.”
Heidi MacKinney, another one of Redstone’s sexual partners, says otherwise. After being contacted by Herzer, MacKinney told courts about a disturbing event during which she arrived at Redstone’s home to find him disoriented and was then instructed to have sex with him by Jagiello:
In early September, Herzer got back in touch with Heidi MacKinney, another Redstone favorite from the old days. “Sumner wanted to see me,” she wrote in a court filing. But he was not the same. “Mentally, Sumner was not present,” she wrote. “He did not seem able to communicate with me, was frail looking, and was not fully aware of his surroundings or what was happening around him.” She met with him five times after he kicked Holland out. On her fourth visit, on October 3, he was “completely non-responsive and vacant,” she wrote. She offered to have sex with him. He did not respond. “It was as if he did not understand what was happening.” She resolved to stop coming to see him.
A week later, though, according to MacKinney’s filing, one of Redstone’s male nurses called MacKinney and said Redstone wanted to see her again. She returned for her final visit to Beverly Park. “This time he appeared even more disoriented, distant, and non-communicative,” she wrote. She spent 20 minutes with him. “It was clear to me that he was not aware of my presence, much less able to communicate with me.” Nevertheless, she continued in her filing, the male nurse—identified in Herzer’s filings as Jeremy Jagiello—remained in the room with her and Redstone, “directing me and telling me what sex acts I should perform.” Jagiello would “sometimes tell Sumner that he had ejaculated, when in fact Sumner had not,” she concluded. “Sumner appeared to believe him, not aware of the truth.” (Attempts to reach Jagiello were not successful.)
The scene painted by MacKinney is, at best, horribly disturbing and, at worst, it’s sexual assault.
Herzer continues to battle with Redstone’s team in court. Different doctors have said different things regarding Redstone’s decision-making capabilities and overall mental and physical health, but regardless of his current state, the fight over the media magnate’s body and fortune will likely continue well past his death.
Image via Getty.