The Greek beauty who married Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos

tina Livanos with Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos
Tina Livanos with Aristotle Onassis (left) and Stavros Niarchos (right). Credit: Public domain

It was October 10, 1974, when Tina Livanos was found dead in a hotel suite in Paris. It was the end of a life that was the legend that the beautiful aristocratic woman had married two of Greece‘s richest shipping magnates: Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos.

Her death was attributed to excessive use of barbiturates. In the next room, her husband Niarchos slept without paying attention to the tragedy.

Tina Livanos, one of the most beautiful and most wanted Greek women of the 20th century

Daughter of the patriarch of a Greek shipping empire, Stavros Livanos, Tina was born in 1929 and grew up as a beautiful “princess” who lived in both London and New York. She studied in the best colleges, spent vacations in the most cosmopolitan resorts around the world and interacted with princes and kings as well as famous actors and international celebrities from a young age.

Livanos was gifted with a stunning look and attracted attention everywhere she went. Two of the men who were fascinated by her beauty sent tycoons Onassis and Niarchos.

According to Onassis’ cinematographer Peter Evans, Onassis was jealous of Niarchos because of his elegance, his aristocratic air, and his seemingly effortless cosmopolitan finesse. Even in the most expensive suit, Onassis looked like a poor man trying to impress, Evans wrote. At the same time, Niarchos embodied the smart aura of the ultra-healthy.

Niarchos was the first of the men to approach Stavros Livanos to get Tina married; she was only 14 at the time. The father advised him to be patient because he had another daughter, Eugenia, who first had to get married because she was three years older.

Onassis came in second and asked to marry Tina. Livanos gave the same answer as he had given Niarchos. But Onassis was more persistent. He was very motivated to beat his rival and marry the young socialite.

Courting lasted for three years when Onassis fell in love with the young girl. It took many expensive gifts, countless days sailing on his yacht and grilling to monitor her. Finally, in 1946, when Tina was only 17, Stavros Livanos gave Onassis his blessing. The shipping company icon was 40 at the time.

Tina Livanos married Onassis at the age of 17

The lavish wedding took place in New York in 1946 with shipowner Andreas Embirikos as best man. It was the social event of the year for the rich and famous.

The marriage also marked the beginning of an epic rivalry between the two richest and most prominent Greeks of the time, Onassis and Niarchos. Niarchos ‘response to Onassis’ wedding was unexpected, adding a new dimension to the hatred between the two men: A year later, he married the equally sought-after, but less beautiful, Eugenia Livanos – Tina’s older sister.

The two men, now related to the marriage, became involved in a bitter rivalry. Onassis yacht “Christina” was a floating palace; Niarchos then built the “Creole”. Onassis created his own paradise on a private island called Skorpios; Niarchos followed suit and did the same with Spetsopoula.

On April 30, 1948, Tina Livanos had a baby boy in a New York clinic called Alexandros. Two years later, on December 11, 1950, Livanos was also referred to as a girl named Christina.

Still, Onassis’ lifelong obsession with beautiful women was not over with Tina. The couple broke up over time and were reportedly the only time they spent together, benefiting others at the lavish parties they held.

Livanos knew her husband slept with other women – and even knew who they were. However, when she did the same and started an affair with the young Brazilian millionaire and playboy Reinaldo Herrera, Onassis became furious.

A complicated marriage

Apparently in retaliation for Livanos’ infidelity, Onassis fell in public – with one of the most famous Greek women of the time, the opera singer. Maria calls.

In the summer of 1959, Onassis invited Callas and her husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini on a cruise on the luxurious Christina. In the beginning, everything went well and Livanos enjoyed Callas’ company. During the cruise, however, it is assumed that Livanos began to suspect that there were strong feelings between Onassis and Callas.

At the end of the cruise, Onassis could no longer hide his love for Callas, prompting his wife to leave the ship in a hurry.

In 1959, Livano filed for divorce in the New York Supreme Court on the grounds of adultery – the only cause of divorce recognized in New York these days – and asked for custody of Alexandros and Christina.

The 30-year-old woman accused her husband of cheating on a woman named JR on land and at sea, in the United States, France, Monte Carlo, Greece and Turkey. She never spoke publicly about Callas and her rumors about the relationship with Onassis.

A year later, Livanos and Onassis were officially divorced, without adultery in the official divorce papers.

Death under mysterious circumstances

On May 4, 1970, Niarchos made headlines in newspapers around the world. His wife, Evgenia, 44, was found dead on their private island of Spetsopoula under mysterious circumstances. The detective found signs of fighting and bruises on her body. There was much speculation surrounding her death, and some wondered if Evgenia had been murdered.

However, the official cause of death was excessive use of barbiturates.

The Livanos family stood by Niarchos’ side, claiming that Eugenia had died from excessive use of barbiturates, and that bruises arose when Niarchos tried to revive her. This seemed a plausible explanation as bruises were minor and probably could not have led to death.

In 1961, Tina Livanos married the Englishman John Spencer-Churchill, the 11th Duke of Marlborough, whom she married for ten years and divorced in 1971.

Only months later, Livanos did the unexpected and shocked everyone in Greece and internationally. The former wife Onassis married her sister’s widow – and her ex-husband’s arch-rival – Stavros Niarchos.

The wedding took place with the Livanos family, who had blessed them, and publicly showed that they deprived Niarchos of all responsibility in Evgenia’s death. For Niarchos himself, marriage was the fulfillment of a decade of desire and a response to Onassis.

Livanos’ first husband and her son Alexandros, however, openly opposed her choice.

Unfortunately, the unlikely marriage was overshadowed by a great tragedy less than two years later. In March 1973, Livanos and Onassis’ only son, Alexandros, was killed in a plane crash in Athens. From that moment on, the cinemas describe the parents Tina Livanos and Aristotle Onassis as two living dead people.

After this point, tragedy followed the family everywhere. The following year, October 10, 1974, Tina Livanos faced the same unfortunate fate as her sister. Livanos was found dead at a hotel in Paris, where the cause of death was an overdose of barbiturate.

Onassis himself sadly died a year later, with many close to him claiming that he had never been able to recover after the sudden death of the beloved son.

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