Francoise Bettencourt Meyers & Family: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

As the sole heir to the L’Oréal cosmetics fortune, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is no stranger to success. However, there is much more to her and her family than meets the eye. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about this multi-billion dollar family.

1. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is one of the wealthiest women in the world

According to Forbes, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, as of 2021, is the wealthiest woman in the world, and one of the richest people overall. After the death of her mother, she assumed full control of the L’Oréal fortune and wealth, which is estimated to be over $70 billion. Her wealth is largely thanks to a 33% stake in the cosmetics giant, which her grandmother invested in at its founding in 1909.

In addition to being a shareholder, Francoise also serves on L’Oréal’s board of directors, a position she has held since 1997. The company has continued to see growth and success under her supervision, further multiplying her wealth.

2. Her family was rocked by a major scandal

In 2007, a serious legal row erupted, bringing the Bettencourt family into the spotlight. Francoise accused famed photographer François-Marie Banier of exploiting her mother’s frail mental state to get her to hand over assets worth about €1 billion. The lawsuit was eventually settled in 2011, with Banier agreeing to forgo his inheritance, but it highlighted the tensions within the wealthiest family in France.

Beyond the legal allegations, the so-called “Bettencourt Affair” scandal also drew attention to controversy related to alleged tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions. The case marked an unsettling chapter in the Bettencourt family history.

3. She’s dedicated to Jewish-Christian dialogue

Beyond her role in the family business, Francoise is also a well-known academic. Her works primarily focus on Jewish-Christian relations. Francoise wrote a five-volume study titled “A Look at the Bible” examining the ties between Jewish and Christian religious texts.

Further, in 2006 she penned “God’s Word,” a book aimed at encouraging fellowship between Judaism and Christianity. Francoise’s elevation of religious unity demonstrates her commitment to peace and readily promotes understanding between different cultures and religions.

4. She married Jean-Pierre Meyers, who is her cousin by marriage

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers married Jean-Pierre Meyers in 1984. It might interest some to know that Jean-Pierre Meyers is her cousin by marriage. His grandfather, Robert Meyers, was married to Francoise’s aunt, Monique Bettencourt.

Francoise and Jean-Pierre Meyers have two children together, Nicolas and Jean-Victor. Both sons have since joined the ranks of L’Oréal, carrying on the family business.

5. She plays piano

Apart from her business interests and writing pursuits, Francoise is an accomplished pianist. She uses music as a way to relax and unwind from the pressures of being one of the world’s richest women.

Her love of music goes beyond just playing the piano. She is known to enjoy classical music and has been known to attend various musical concerts and events.

6. Her philanthropic pursuits

Francoise has used her wealth to contribute to various causes and organizations. She and her husband created a foundation dedicated to scientific research and support for the disabled, sick, elderly, and underprivileged youth.

The Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation, named after her parents, has awarded millions to people and projects contributing to human progress.

7. She is rarely seen in public

Unlike many billionaires, Francoise largely avoids the public eye. She values her privacy and leads a very reserved life despite her incredible wealth and the public nature of her family business.

Hers is a refreshing stance in an age often characterized by a desire for fame and public oversharing.

8. She continues her mother’s legacy in L’Oreal

Francoise takes her heritage and the legacy of L’Oreal seriously. Since inheriting her mother’s shares, she has continued to push the company towards greater heights, ensuring it maintains its leading status globally.

This commitment to her mother’s legacy is an integral part of Francoise’s identity and her role in the company.

9. Her fight for her inheritance

The “Bettencourt Affair” that started in 2007 was primarily a fight between Francoise and François-Marie Banier over her mother’s fortune. Arguing that Banier had swindled her ailing mother out of a considerable part of her fortune, Francoise fought tirelessly in court to preserve her imminent inheritance.

This determination to protect what she believed to rightfully belong to the Bettencourt family gives us a glimpse into her tenacity and willpower.

10. She’s a committed guardian of her family’s reputation

Despite the scandals that have plagued her family, Francoise has continually shown herself as a staunch defender and guardian of her family’s reputation. She has worked tirelessly to steer the family and the company through various crises.

This shows not only her dedication to her family but also her strength and perseverance in the face of adversity.

To learn more about Francoise Bettencourt Meyers and her family, visit these useful links:

Forbes Profile – Francoise Bettencourt Meyers

Harper’s Bazaar – Who Is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the Richest Woman in the World?

Bettencourt Schueller Foundation