Millionaires Dating Club: People like me

When times are tough it helps to have a resourceful wife. Evalyne is one such woman. Over the past few weeks, her husband, who has a property and retail empire, has seen his fortune shrink from $1.2 billion to $300m. Evalyne says he is devastated about not being a billionaire any more and spends long hours brooding over the loss at his stud farm in Kentucky. But she’s not gloomy. While her husband spent his money on idiotic vanity assets such as racehorses and a football club, she bought heavily into art. Her collection has increased its value tenfold, so she feels richer than ever. If the worst does happen and her husband loses everything, Evalyne will take care of him, although I doubt they will ever be billionaires again.

Kathy Fuld, the wife of that awful Lehman Brothers chief exec Richard, did a similar thing. Her husband just sold his share options for $280,000, not the $144m they were worth in 2006, but Kathy is set to make $11m from the sale of her abstract expressionist drawings. Richard has done a lot of stupid things, but marrying Kathy was not one of them.

So many wealthy men make the mistake of choosing a wife for her beauty alone. It is fine when times are good, but when times are bad it can be an expensive mistake. The last thing a man with diminishing stock options needs is a dependent dollybird with a serious jewellery habit who cannot even spell recession, let alone understand what it means.

Dasha Zhukova is utterly gorgeous, but she’s also got brains. Look at the way she has opened Roman Abramovich up to the art scene and a more cultured social life. I know one chief exec who, after the last recession, traded in his bimbo second wife for a Mandarin- speaking, Harvard Business School grad with an interest in prison reform. As he says: “Take her to a business dinner, and you go home with more than a doggy bag.” As well as turning him on to philanthropy and liberal politics (which he says has taken years off him), she bagged him an Olympics construction project and built him a stunning portfolio of contemporary Chinese art, some of which they donated to the Met (they now both sit on the board of trustees).

If you want a picture of a healthy, wealthy modern marriage, theirs is it:

The era of the trophy wife is over. I guess that’s progress.