Sumner Redstone’s ex-fiancée was once investigated for murder after her former millionaire boyfriend died while they had cocaine-fueled sex, it’s been revealed.
The billionaire Viacom and CBS mogul was in a relationship with Sydney Holland for five years before he realized she had been fleecing him of $150million alongside his other former flame, Manuela Herzer.
Holland’s contentious life before meeting Sumner – who died at the age of 97 in 2020 – has now been laid bare in a new book ‘Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy.’
The damning new details also revealed that the pair met through a Millionaire Matchmaker service, which he paid $120,000 a year for, after he was caught trying to steal his 25-year-old grandson’s girlfriends from him.
People close to Sumner – who was known for his playboy antics and frivolous spending on dozens of women – slowly grew tired of his wanton financing and lack of a stable relationship.
Sumner Redstone and Sydney Holland. The new book reveals that Holland, before meeting Redstone, was briefly probed for murder after her former partner died while having sex with her. It turned out that charges were not filed and he had a heart attack mid coitus
Brandon Korff (right), Sumner’s grandson, contacted Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker’s famed Patti Stanger in a last-ditch attempt to get his lurid grandfather a potential partner. They are pictured here in 2011
So much so, his own family members attempted to find him partners in a bid to streamline his attentions and desires.
Brandon Korff, Sumner’s grandson, contacted Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker’s famed Patti Stanger in a last-ditch attempt to get his lurid grandfather a potential partner.
This happened after Korff, 25, complained that his grandfather’s serial dating was straining his own life. He’d often receive frantic calls at 4am from Sumner, begging the George Washington University graduate to introduce him to romantic companions.
Sumner, then 87-years-old, would even pursue the same young models and actresses that his 25-year-old grandson was dating, the book reveals.
The billionaire grandfather would brazenly flirt and caress Brandon’s girlfriends at public events – including at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
Finally, Brandon turned to the professional Millionaire Matchmaker. The young man, clearly at the end of his tether, allegedly said to Stanger: ‘I can’t deal with him.’
It was via this $10,000-a-month matchmaking venture that Sumner met Holland.
Initially, the billionaire told Stanger that he couldn’t pay the yearly fee up front, because ‘he’d been placed on an allowance to curb his increasingly lavish spending on women,’ the book revealed.
But he eventually coughed up the cash. Despite failing to find a match for months, he was then paired with 39-year-old Holland in 2010 – who was nearly 50 years his junior.
But Holland herself had a tendentious past. She was accustomed to dating rich, older men, the new book claims. Her first husband Cecil Holland, was 16 years older than her.
The San Diego-born ‘businesswoman’ had clinched on to failed venture after failed venture – including an eco-friendly yoga apparel and lingerie brand – before she met the billionaire media mogul.
Millionaire Matchmaker’s famed Patti Stanger (right) with Sumner’s future fiancée (left)
Holland was being actively pursued by creditors and even drove a dilapidated small red car, with the wing mirrors held on with duct tape, before being matched with media titan Sumner.
Perhaps most salacious element of her dating history was her relationship with golfing bigwig Bruce Parker – who she met at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Despite being 15 years her senior, Holland moved into the millionaire’s glam Wilshire Boulevard apartment just a month into dating, driving a Mercedes he leased for her. It’s estimated that Parker, in stocks alone, had $21million to his name at the time.
However their honeymoon period came crashing down just months later in October 2009, when Parker suddenly died of a heart attack in the middle of having sex with Holland.
The 53-year-old’s death caused more than one problem for Holland. Not only was she financially struggling once more, but she was now also being investigated for murdering Parker.
Despite the murder probe, she was not charged with his death, since cocaine was found in Parker’s bloodstream at the time of his passing. His AA meetings, it seems, we’re not as fruitful as once hoped.
Defiant Holland refused to move out of her dead boyfriend’s apartment, demanded she kept the swanky car and wanted to be named an executor of Parker’s estate. But his grieving family instead paid her $164,000 in a settlement and sent her packing her Gucci luggage set.
Meeting the ailing media mogul in 2010, therefore, seemed opportune. She described their courtship as ‘idyllic,’ and the book claims the pair spent their days listening to Frank Sinatra while driving in Malibu and eating chocolate mousse at lavish restaurants.
Just months later, Holland found herself engaged to Sumner after he presented her with a rare, nine carat canary yellow diamond engagement ring.
Redstone – who had already been put on a limit for his lavish spending on women – showered her with cash, art, and red roses, alongside a swanky house in West Hollywood and Porsche.
Sumber Redstone with Sydney Holland. Holland genuinely loved Sumner, the book claims. He demanded that she was faithful to him (although he did not need to be to her), that she went to bed with him every night, and that she was present for every lunch and dinner
Holland joined various elite social scenes in California thanks to her new partner, including the Beverly Hills Tennis Club and Rivera Country Club, where initiation fees are $250,000.
But her accumulated wealth as fiancée to billionaire Sumner seemingly wasn’t enough.
The new book reveals that in a conversation between her lawyer where he asked if she was satisfied with her new, estimated net worth of around $9million, Holland allegedly responded: ’20 would be best!!! Just saying.’
It wasn’t long before her goal of $20million became reality. Holland genuinely loved Sumner, the book claims. He demanded that she was faithful to him (although he did not need to be to her), that she went to bed with him every night, and that she was present for every lunch and dinner.
Along with one of the multiple other women in his life, Manuela Herzer, the billionaire assured they ‘would be cared for during the rest of their lives’ and were told ‘what’s mine if yours’ as well as ‘you will never have to worry or want for anything,’ the book claims.
Herzer had met Sunmer years earlier at a dinner party hosted by producer Robert Evans. She previously declined Sunmer’s marriage proposal, which she later allegedly said was the ‘biggest mistake of my life.’
Regardless, she gained the trust of the ageing billionaire and soon became a confidant. He bought her a $3.85million Beverly Hills mansion, and made her a joint tenant of his New York City sprawling Upper East Side apartment at the Carlyle Hotel.
Argentina-born Herzer was educated in France, and spoke several languages. She was called in to vet Holland after she started dating the media mogul, the book claims.
Once giving her seal of approval, the two women formed an alliance. She moved into the million-dollar California mansion with the couple.
Before long, the besotted billionaire was fixing and changing his trusts and wills to include the two powerhouse women. He amended estate plan to give Holland and Herzer $40million – a sum which he had previously bestowed to his own daughter Shari’s charitable foundation.
Manuela Herzer, Sumner Redstone and Sydney Holland. Redstone lodged a $150M lawsuit against the pair, which were settled out of court
And on September 26, 2013 he amendment to his trust – giving fiancée Holland a maximum sum of $45million, when he eventually died.
Herzer would get the same, and each of her three kids would get $1.5million.
These monetary gifts were already on top of cash gifts they had racked up in that year alone – which totaled $9.1million.
Sumner changed his trust so that the two women would inherit his Beverly Park mansion and run the Sumner Redstone foundation. Holland, perhaps most endearingly, would look after his two miniature poodles once he died.
The two women were also ‘planning their most brazen gambit’ in March 2014, as they eyed-up taking over the $200million in Viacom and CBS stock – which were in an unrestricted account owned by Sumner.
They went about trying to convince the old man to sell his assets and hand the proceeds over to them immediately, ‘rather than having to wait until he died,’ the book says.
Holland sent Herzer an email ahead of a meeting with her fiancé, with a ‘list of things to cover.’
It included ‘changing the trust to add both our names to it’ and ‘get the monies now rather than waiting until Sumner dies.’
It wasn’t until 2015, when he realized what had truly happened to his estate, that Sumner filed an astonishing lawsuit against his two former girlfriends. He alleged that they preyed on his frailty and committed elder abuse.
It was also around this time that Sumner realized his fiancée had been having an affair – and was engaged to – a man named George Pilgrim. She was thrown out of the mansion in August 2015. Herzer was thrown out six weeks later.
Between them, over a five-year period, they had swindled $150million from him, while driving a wedge between him and his family, the lawsuit alleged.
According to the 2015 lawsuit, Redstone attorney Robert Klieger said: ‘They manipulated and emotionally abused Redstone to get what they wanted — jewelry, designer clothing, real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and Paris, and money, lots of it.’
‘They made an unlikely but winning team — Herzer, the brains of the operation, who Redstone had known for years and trusted and confided in; and Holland, the younger beauty who had Redstone wrapped around her finger.’
Everyday, there were bags of cash being delivered to the mansion, which were ‘bundled in stacks of hundred dollar bills.’ They had control of his credit cards – racking up millions of bills.
The Beverly Hills, California, mansion of the late media magnate and billionaire Sumner Redstone
The Carlyle Hotel, where Sumner had an apartment. He later sued to get Herzer taken off the lease
Court papers from the time showed that Holland allegedly spent $2 million on Redstone’s credit cards in 2014 – including a $58,461 charge at Saks Fifth Avenue and a $752,737 bill at Tracie Butler Interior Design.
And Herzer’s charges in the same year amounted to $1.5 million – of which $128,780 was spent at Barneys and $82,624 at Hermes.
On top of the $150million lawsuit in Los Angeles, Sumner also sued in New York City in a bid to get Herzer removed form the title of his Carlyle apartment.
But this lawsuit lodged against the two women only kickstarted a battlefield of legal issues on both sides. Lawsuits were filed back and forth in the coming months. Both women took aim against Sumner’s daughter, Shari, claiming that she was behind his change of opinion.
Sydney Holland and Manuela Herzer attend the Friendly House Los Angeles Annual Awards Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 26, 2013
According to the book, the lawsuit ‘reunited Holland and Herzer with the Redstones now their common foe. Herzer was still furious with Holland for having so recklessly upended their carefully laid plans.
‘And Holland was angry with Herzer for betraying her to Sumner. But their fortunes and reputations were inextricably linked – perhaps forever.’
It was only years later that the bombshell $150million lawsuit was settled – however the billionaire did not even recover a fraction of what he was demanding.
In the settlement, Holland withdrew her claims and paid $250,000 to the Sumner Redstone foundation – which then donated that money to an autism cause. She also paid $750k in escrow.
Herzer, meanwhile, agreed to repay $3.25million and drop all claims – and signed an NDA in the aftermath.
The settlements, according to the book, were in some ways a victory for Sumner – because both of the women who had entwined themselves in his finances and used him for the gain had to forfeit something.
But the legal win ‘was largely symbolic.’ The book adds: ‘Still, S and M as Shari had so often referred to them, were out of her life at last.’
Redstone was married twice before his relationship to Holland, first to Phyllis Gloria Raphael from 1944 to 199 and later to Paula Fortunato from 2002 to 2009.
UNSCRIPTED: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy by James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams is published by Penguin Press, a Penguin Random House Company in the US / Cornerstone Press in the UK / Feb. 16 on-sale / £25 in Hardback, £12.99 in Ebook, £14 in Audiobook.