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Billionaire socialite, 31, dumps her husband for his butler & moves him into her £100m mansion


It's a tale of fabulous wealth and complicated romance worthy of a Jilly Cooper novel.


But the story of how a stunning billionaire had the perfect married life but blew it all up for a penniless hunk who worked as a topless butler is far stranger than fiction.


The protagonists are 31-year-old Louise Backstrom, a stunning socialite whose grandfather Sten Ake Lindholm is a Swedish hardware billionaire, and her husband Martin Wennberg – who won life’s lottery six years ago when he met Louise while working as a luxury watch salesman.


The couple fell in love, married in Sweden and later set up home in London where they became social hits, joining the most exclusive clubs, forging a friendship with the Duchess of Cornwall, and attending star-studded charity events.


The couple have two homes in Belgravia: a £15 million Eaton Square flat and a mega-mansion around the corner rumoured to be worth about £100 million.


They have also been known to rent a penthouse in the prestigious One Hyde Park apartment block in Knightsbridge.


The building is home to 86 luxury apartments with prices for sale starting at around £20million.


But a few months ago their perfect life turned sour when Martin, 33, invited his friend, the semi-professional rugby player Alex Hemsley over to the mansion to meet his family and have a swim in their large indoor pool.


Friends say Cambridge-born Alex caught Louise’s eye and the pair ended up forming a friendship of their own.



Alex, who played for Taunton Rugby Club, is known for his athletic physique and has moonlighted as a ‘butler in the buff’, a topless waiter, to make ends meet.


Alex said he took the job as a half-naked waiter to help pay for his bills as he studied law at the University of West England, Bristol.


In a feature published by the Mail On Sunday in May 2011, he told the publication: 'Why would I work as a half-naked waiter at hen nights and parties full of raucous, tipsy women?


'Because the £25-an-hour rate, which can see me earn around £1,500 a month at busy times, means I can pay my way through uni.


'The maintenance loan I receive is only £2,000 a year, yet my rent alone is £500 a month.


'Although my parents can help (my mum’s a photographer and my dad’s in financial services), it doesn’t feel right for them to be supporting their 20-something son.

SPLIT: Louise with husband Martin. The couple fell in love, married in Sweden and set up home in London where they became hits, joining exclusive clubs, forging a friendship with the Duchess of Cornwall, and attending star-studded charity events

Married couple Louise and Martin Wennberg reportedly have two homes in the exclusive area of Belgravia - one home in Eaton Square (pictured: stock image) worth £15million and one round the corner which is said to be worth £100million

Married Louise Backstrom and Martin Wennberg have been known to rent an apartment in the prestigious One Hyde Park apartment building (pictured) in Knightsbridge, London, where prices for its 86 luxury apartments start at around £20million

One Hyde Park, in Knightsbridge, central London, is an exclusive apartment and retail complex which opened in 2010

Room with a view: The couple have stayed at One Hyde Park where bedrooms come with a spectacular view of London

Former rugby player Alex Hemsley swapped naked waiting for luxury dining as Louise is known to rent out an apartment at One Hyde Park. Pictured: A kitchen at one of the luxury flats at the apartment block built by Christian and Nick Candy

'Most people just laugh about my job. Even my parents find it hilarious. The pay’s so good that I can work fewer hours (between ten and 20 a week) and dedicate myself to the 12 hours of lectures and 30 hours of reading a week required by my course.'


The 32-year-old now finds himself living in the mega-mansion with a real-life butler, one of a dozen staff employed by Louise, while Martin has been ‘reduced’ to living in the three-bedroom Eaton Square flat.


A source said: ‘Alex and Martin were friends but Alex took one look at that house and thought he’d love to live there.


Helpfully, Louise fell in love with him and he edged Martin out of the marital home. Now Alex is living the dream instead.’

But in a new twist, Martin has told friends he would prefer to continue living with Louise, even though the couple intend to divorce.


He believes the mansion is so big they could all live there without crossing paths, and it would allow him time with their son, who also lives there.


The source said: ‘It’s the kind of thing only a super-rich man can claim: that he can live with his estranged wife and her lover because the house is so big they wouldn’t even bump into each other.


'You couldn’t make it up. It is five houses knocked together.


‘This split has got everyone talking in the members’ clubs because Louise has a crazy rich lifestyle – and different friends are taking different sides.’


Louise has detailed her extravagant lifestyle on her Instagram account. She has been seen quaffing champagne on a helicopter and uses private jets to whisk her to a chalet that her mother owns in Klosters.


She freely admits to ‘living the fairy tale’ but will she get the ‘happy ever after’ with her new love?


Alex Hemsley was pictured spending the coronavirus lockdown with Hole singer Courtney Love in London last year





Credit: Read more from dailymail.co.uk


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