The sweet revenge of Meghan Markle’s first husband: Trevor Engelson is now a father, a Hollywood hotshot and married to a multi-millionaire heiress worth $250 million… though friends still avoid mentioning the ‘M’ word’
At a sunny corner table, a ruggedly handsome man wearing gold-rimmed sunglasses held court with a group of managers and agents.
While many in the packed restaurant knew who he was – he constantly greeted friends and fellow agents – there was one subject firmly off the table: Meghan Markle.
For while the Duchess of Sussex has moved on with her life, so, too, has her ex-husband Trevor Engelson.
A friend of Engelson who saw him recently told the MoS: ‘For a long time, things were difficult for Trevor. He’s a good guy but Meghan crushed him when she demanded a divorce. When she took up with Prince Harry, he was crushed all over again because he was constantly reminded of her because of the publicity around the marriage and then the drama of the Oprah interview. But that’s all in the past now.
‘When I saw him recently, he kept going on about how he’s the happiest he’s ever been, how he loves being a dad and how he’s never felt more fulfilled.’
That said, his friend observed: ‘Everyone in Trevor’s life knows not to mention the ‘M’ word. He’s moved on and, in some ways, you could say he’s having an even better life than Meghan. He probably has more money than she does now, he’s doing what he loves and he’s out of the spotlight. It’s the ultimate revenge.’
Trevor, 46, has seen his personal and professional fortunes blossom in recent years.
He has been happily married since 2019 to heiress Tracey Kurland, a dietician whose late father built up a $500 million (£395 million) fortune in the mortgage industry before his premature death from complications from Covid in 2021. When he died, reports in the US claimed Tracey inherited $250 million.
Trevor and Tracey live on a sprawling estate in a wealthy LA enclave with their two young daughters and, for the past two years, have co-hosted a golf tournament in memory of her father which has raised more than a million dollars.
‘They are a very close family and a great couple,’ the friend continued. ‘Trevor adores his wife and his two little girls. When he’s with them he never stops smiling.’
Professionally, too, he has enjoyed success. His management and production company Underground, which is based in Beverly Hills, created the hit TV crime drama Snowfall, which ran for six seasons and starred British actor Damson Idris. A spin-off show is in the works.
Engelson represents a roster of up-and-coming stars and, unlike many in Hollywood, has been a fervent supporter of the current actors’ and writers’ strike.
The friend said: ‘Trevor is this quick-talking guy from Great Neck, New York and in some ways he’s your typical agent/manager, he’s always talking up his clients and various projects.
‘But he’s also one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. He would give you the shirt off his back.’ During the Hollywood strike, Engelson has been on picket lines, giving people coffee and doughnuts. ‘He’s not someone who ever sought the spotlight and he keeps his generosity quiet,’ says his friend.
Trevor’s life now is a long way from the one he shared with Meghan. The pair met in a Hollywood bar in 2004, quickly fell in love and moved in together.
They dated for seven years before marrying on a Jamaican beach in 2011, an event where guests were handed hemp gift bags containing samples of the local potent strain of marijuana.
Meghan’s estranged father Thomas Markle, 79, remembers Engelson with great affection. ‘I really liked Trevor,’ he said.
‘He got to know my mother and he was always so kind and supportive. He was a perfect gentleman to my daughter and treated me with great respect.
‘When he asked for Meghan’s hand, I could not have been happier.’
Unlike Prince Harry, who has never met his father-in-law, Engelson enjoyed a warm bond with both Thomas and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland. ‘He treated Meghan so well and he was always so kind and respectful to Doria and me,’ Mr Markle said.
‘Meghan loves to entertain, so we would be invited for meals and special occasions. I enjoyed Trevor’s company very much.’
For most of the marriage, Engelson was the main breadwinner. Meghan struggled to make it as an actress, at one point becoming a ‘suitcase girl’ on the TV show Deal Or No Deal, something she later said she felt ‘objectified’ her.
Yet Engelson constantly supported his wife, finding her roles in a low-budget movie called The Candidate and then a part in a film called Remember Me with a very young pre-Twilight star Robert Pattinson. ‘Trevor supported Meghan like a rock,’ a source told the MoS. ‘He was the one who paid the bulk of the rent, he constantly built her up.’
When Meghan finally landed a ‘decent’ role, as paralegal Rachel Zane on TV series Suits, Engelson wholeheartedly supported her move to Toronto to film the show that would eventually run for nine seasons. ‘Trevor was always loyal to Meg,’ a friend who knew them as a couple said. ‘When she got Suits, he was her biggest cheerleader.’
Meghan soon developed her own group of influential friends in the Canadian city, including stylist Jessica Mulroney and Sophie Trudeau (estranged wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau).
‘No long-distance relationship is easy, and Meghan started drifting away from Trevor when she was in Canada,’ the source told the MoS. ‘When she told Trevor she wanted a divorce after a couple of years he was devastated. He phoned Meghan’s dad in pieces, not knowing where it had gone wrong. He was genuinely blindsided.’
According to the hagiographical book about Meghan and Harry, Finding Freedom, Meghan was hurt when Engelson was invited to the Oscars and went alone, because he had only one ticket.
The source said: ‘That comment showed a fundamental lack of knowledge about Hollywood. The Academy Awards are the hardest tickets in town. Unless you are nominated, or a big name, it’s common for single tickets to be given out. It’s great Trevor got a ticket.
‘Why Meghan would think she would be entitled to accompany him is strange. Even big stars can’t take everyone they want to take.’
The pair divorced in 2013 citing ‘irreconcilable differences’.
According to multiple reports, Meghan posted her wedding and engagement rings back to Engelson in LA.
‘Trevor was heartbroken,’ says his friend. ‘He was ringing up their mutual friends saying he didn’t know what had gone wrong?’
As the MoS revealed earlier this summer, some have coined the phrase ‘You’ve been Markled’ to describe how quickly – and some might say coldly – Meghan is able to discard once-close friends. David and Victoria Beckham were famously ‘Markled’ when Meghan allegedly suspected Victoria of leaking stories about her to the press.
This is something the Beckhams vehemently deny.
Meghan ditched her childhood best friend Ninaki Priddy for reasons unknown. Some have suggested Ninaki supported Trevor in the divorce.
‘Trevor took a while to recover from Meghan,’ the friend said. ‘He was doing OK and then, in 2016, it came out that Meghan was dating Prince Harry.
‘Poor Trevor had to go through all of that – being approached by the media and even friends, asking how he felt. It wasn’t easy.’ At one point, Engelson even considered making a TV series about a man whose ex-wife falls for a prince. But that project was ‘quietly shelved’.
By the time he met second wife Tracey, he was ready to settle down. The pair tied the knot at a five- star beach hotel in May 2019 – ironically in Montecito, California, a short distance from the £11 million, 16-bathroom home Meghan and Harry later bought in the exclusive enclave.
A wedding guest said: ‘It was a joyous occasion. Trevor looked so happy. So relieved. He’s a man who went through the mill. He loved Meghan but he was very hurt by her. All of us who love him are happy he’s in such a good place.’