Paulina Porizkova has opened up about how she unknowingly gave up the last years of her childhood to her pursue her modeling career, saying she was lured by the promise of money after growing up without any.
The 55-year-old fashion star took to Instagram on Tuesday to share side-by-side shots of herself as a fresh-faced teen model and now while recalling how she enlisted other people to manage her money for her, a choice she now regrets.
‘What was supposed to be just a summer job in Paris the year I turned fifteen, became my life’s career,’ she wrote at the start of her candid post.
Looking back: Paulina Porizkova, 55, took to Instagram on Tuesday to share side-by-side shots of herself as a fresh-faced teen model (left) and now (right)
Strike a pose: In the caption, Paulina (pictured in 1986) recalled how she had worked as a model in Paris the summer after she had turned 15 and it ended up becoming her life’s career
‘When I was due to return back to school in September, I took stock and…realized I had made more money in one summer than all the babysitting and newspaper selling and grocery store clerking I had ever done, combined. So I stayed.’
Paulina said she was ‘in the right spot at the right time’ and started making more money than she could have ever imagined, but she had no idea how to manage her own finances because she ‘grew up with a single parent in a household with no money.’
‘I handed it all off to other people to manage, trusting others would do the right thing for me. Sometimes they did. Sometimes they didn’t,’ she recalled. ‘I didn’t know then that I sold my childhood and my teenage years.
‘I am not one for regrets. I like myself,’ she added. ‘It took all my mistakes to get me to be the person that I am. But I sure as hell wish I had learned to take charge of my money instead of handing over the responsibility of MYSELF to others.’
Paulina shared the post as part of her new partnership with UBS bank. Earlier this month, she opened up about her financial mistakes during a two-part conversation with Paula Polito, vice chairwoman of UBS Global Wealth Management.
Candid: The model admitted that she unknowingly gave up her childhood and teenage years to work, and while she doesn’t regret her choice, she does regret not handling her own money
When asked if she had regretted not signing prenup when she got married in her early 20s, she let out a maniacal laugh and made a face, saying: ‘Uh, yeah.’
‘Now if I had a daughter, any of my goddaughters or granddaughters or any of the young women I know…if there’s one good thing I could do for them is to let them hear my story of how romance eclipsed any financial thinking and what a bad idea that is,’ she added.
Paulina explained that her family never talked about money when she was growing up because they didn’t really have any. She started modeling when she was 15, and her agency had her hire a business manager to take care of her finances.
She was only 19 when she met her late husband on the set of the music video for The Cars’ hit ‘Drive’ in 1984. He was considerably older, and she felt he was wiser because of his age.
‘I had this sort of idea that he knew everything about the world and his word was the word of God, and I should just sort of listen to what he said because, obviously, he had the wisdom of living that I hadn’t had,’ she said. ‘And he reminded of that every of often, that he knows better because he’s older.’
Candid: Paulina opened up about her financial mistakes during a recent conversation with UBS as part of her paid partnership with the bank, saying she wished she had signed a prenup
Paulina was pulling in about $6 million a year at the time, but she was never considered the breadwinner.
‘From the very beginning, it always seemed like it didn’t matter how much money I made. It was “hobby” money and his money was the “real” money,’ she recalled.
She felt it would be ‘unromantic’ to bring up finances in any way, saying she thought it put their relationship ‘into a sort of a calculated romance rather than just love and passion.’
Paulina and Ric wed five years later after they met, when she was 24 and he was 45.
She said that before they got married, Ric had told her that he thought signing a prenup was a ‘bad omen’ and meant that they thought their marriage wouldn’t last.
Memories: The supermodel met her late husband Ric Ocasek on the set of the music video for The Cars’ hit ‘Drive’ in 1984 (pictured) when she was only 19
Honest: Paulina (pictured with her husband in 1990) said Ric thought a prenup was a ‘bad omen’ and ‘romance eclipsed any financial thinking’ on her part
‘I was stupid,’ she said with a laugh. ‘It was incredibly naive of me.’
Their finances were merged throughout their 28-year marriage, and they had two sons together — Jonathan, 27, and Oliver, 22. She noted that she still had access to money after they announced their separation in 2018.
However, that all changed when Ric died in their Manhattan townhouse in September 2019 at age 75. She learned he had cut her out of his will, claiming she had ‘abandoned’ him, leaving her without any money to live off of, including her previous earnings.
‘I got two mortgaged houses and the pension, but no way to pay for anything,’ she said of her financial struggles the year after his death. ‘So obviously things had to be sold, but until they got sold, I had nothing to live on. I literally went through a year of asking my friends to buy us groceries. It was not a good position to be in.’
In September, Paulina sold the Gramercy Park townhouse where they had lived for more than 30 years for $10 million. She still has her home in upstate New York, and she recently moved into a rental apartment in Manhattan.
Family: Their finances were merged throughout their 28-year marriage, and they had two sons together, Jonathan, 27, and Oliver, 22 (pictured in 2016)
Loss: After Ric’s death in September 2019, Paulina learned he had cut her out of his will, claiming she had ‘abandoned’ him, leaving her without any money to live off of
Moving on: Paulina sold the townhouse where she lived with her late husband for three decades for $10 million in September
More than a year later, Paulina said she still isn’t sure if he did this to her intentionally or he was preoccupied with his health and wasn’t paying attention when someone slipped him the paper to sign.
‘That’s my seesaw between grief and rage.’ she said. ‘And you know what? I’ll never get an answer to that. That is something I will never know, and I have to come to terms with it. That’s what I’m sort of doing now, forgiving him.’
Paulina, as Ric’s widow, may be entitled under New York law to an ‘elective share’ of his estate because they were not legally divorced when he died.
Ric specifically addressed the rule in his will, stating: ‘Even if I should die before our divorce is final…Paulina is not entitled to any elective share…because she has abandoned me.’
However, unless it can be proven in court that she did abandon him, she will likely be entitled to a one-third share of the musician’s assets, which are listed as $5 million in ‘copyrights,’ $100,000 in ‘tangible personal property,’ and $15,000 in cash.
Nightmare: The model also has a home in upstate New York that she still owns. She noted that Ric left with her two mortgages but not any money to pay for them
Racy: Paulina recently shared a nude photo of herself that was taken in her new apartment
Paulina explained that while she has been angry with her late husband, she takes full responsibility for her financial woes.
‘What happened to me, it seemed like it was so easily preventable,’ she said. ‘And it was based on not misfortune, it was based on my own stupidity.
‘It wasn’t that I had an evil husband. It wasn’t that things conspired against me, this is literally, I have nobody to blame for this except for myself.’
Paulina shared a touching Instagram tribute to Ric on Valentine’s Day, posting a sweet throwback snap of them together at the start of their relationship.
In the caption, she reflected on her relationship with the musician, from whom she separated in 2018, explaining that she still has ‘love’ for him and remains ‘grateful’ for their time together.
Thoughtful words: Earlier this month, Paulina opened up about her complicated grieving process in a touching Valentine’s Day tribute to her late husband
Looking back: Last week, Paulina shared a cheeky throwback photo of herself that was taken in Costa Rica on February 19, 2020
‘When someone you love dies, you’re suddenly plunged into knowledge of the finite,’ she wrote. ‘At least it did for me. Yes, we were separated, yes, we were getting divorced, but I knew love didn’t die with a divorce.
‘We were not just husband and wife, we were family. I thought we would go on loving each other for the rest of our lives — having no idea how short of a time that would be. But it turns out love doesn’t go away with death either.
‘I’m deeply grateful for the time we spent together and soon, even the lessons I now have to learn the hard way.’
She concluded the post by sharing one of the most valuable lessons she has learned in the wake of Ric’s death.
‘Most of all —Time is precious,’ she added. ‘Let’s use it well by loving and accepting love to the brim of the containers and dispensers of love that we are. Happy Valentines to you.’