• Marlene Knaus is a former Austrian model, best known as the ex-wife of Niki Lauda, the late Formula One (F1) racing driver.
• She began her career as a model at a young age and became popular for her signature loose hairdo and impeccable sense of fashion.
• She married Niki Lauda in 1976 and stayed with him despite his extramarital affair that resulted in a son.
• The couple divorced in 1991 and Niki left a significant amount of his wealth to Marlene upon his death in 2019.
• Marlene Knaus' net worth is estimated to be around $43 million as of early 2020.
Who is Marlene Knaus?
Marlene Knaus is a former Austrian model, but who is probably best known as the ex-wife of Niki Lauda, the late Formula One (F1) racing driver.
Marlene Knaus Age, Early Life, Family, and Education Background
Although the exact day Marlene was born isn’t known, it was in 1956, making her 64 years old in 2020. She was born in USA before relocating and receiving Austrian citizenship, but belongs to Venezuelan ethnicity.
She is one of the celebrities who prefer to keep things under wraps, and has not shared any information regarding her parents. It’s also not known whether she has any siblings. The same case applies to her educational background. Marlene has not shared any details regarding where she schooled and her highest level of education.
Marlene Knaus Professional Career and Rise to Stardom
Marlene began her career as a model at a tender age in the 1960s. Over time she became popular due to her successful modeling career, which led to many famous brands seeking her skills. She was known as the ‘it-girl’ for her signature loose hairdo and impeccable sense of fashion – her hairstyle later became a trend at the time.
She graced the covers of various magazines and became very active in the fashion industry, then later worked as a designer, and became a socialite.
Marlene Knaus Personal Life, Marriage, Ex-Husband, and Children
Marlene rose to prominence after she married the late Niki Lauda. She met Niki in 1975 and after dating for a couple of months, the two tied the knot in 1976. They were considered one of the most prominent celebrity couples of the time, which put them on the media radar, and led to their love story making page three headlines.
As per some reputable sources, Marlene is said to have fainted once she saw her husband’s damaged eyelids and burns after his almost fatal Grand Prix accident. Marlene was not Niki’s first woman.
He had dated Mariella Reininghaus for eight years, and broke up with her in 1975 to start dating Marlene as he had fallen in love with her beauty and the magnetic persona that she exuded.
Before getting into a relationship with Niki, Marlene had dated Curt Jurgens, the German-Austrian film and stage actor; Marlene actually met Niki at a dinner party that Curt was hosting at his house. Niki was ranked among the most successful F1 racers, as he won the F1 World Drivers Championship thrice, in 1975, 197, and 1984. Also, he is the only driver to be declared a champion for both McLaren and Ferrari.
He was also an entrepreneur and the founder of two airlines, Niki and Lauda Air. In 2013, the movie “Rush” was released, depicting the 1976 F1 battle between him and James Hunt. The couple had their first child, Lucas Lauda in 1979, and their second son on 30 January 1981 who they named Mathias Lauda – he grew up to become a racing driver just like his dad. Lucas works as his brother’s manager.
Niki also had another son, Christoph, who was born in 1982 from an extramarital affair with an unknown woman.
Despite the cheating, Marlene stood by her husband even after the scandal became a public matter. However, after being married for a decade and a half the couple filed for a divorce in 1991. Once it was finalized, they stayed in touch, and Marlene was often seen in family get-togethers. Although she didn’t remarry or start a relationship with another man, Niki married Birgit Wetzinger, a flight attendant working in his airline. In 2008, the two were blessed with twins, a boy named Max and a girl, Mia.
Currently, Marlene lives in Ibiza, Spain where she has a house that Niki left her. She is on good terms with Birgit as the two even shared responsibilities when her ex-husband was in a Zurich hospital on his death bed. Niki died on 20 May 2019 after being ill for a long time. In August 2018, he had undergone a lung transplant and prior to that, two kidney transplants.
After his death, his net worth was signed off to Birgit and his four children, while a significant amount went to Marlene and His other child, Christoph.
Marlene Knaus Net Worth
Although Marlene accumulated a decent amount of wealth as a model and socialite, the real money came after divorcing Niki Lauda. The money came in millions, money Niki had accumulated over the years as an F1 racer. According to reputable sources, Marlene Knaus’ net worth is estimated to be around $43 million as of early 2020. Her ex-husband is estimated to have left a net worth of well over $100 million.