The Untold Truth Of Dodi Fayed

Film producer Dodi Fayed was born in April 1955 in Alexandria, Egypt. According to Biography, he was born to an Egyptian businessman named Mohamed al-Fayed, and his mother was Samira Khashoggi, who was related to an arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi. In those days, it seemed like the young Dodi had everything he could possibly ask for. Sadly, things were a little more complicated than that.

Throughout his adult life, the wealthy film producer didn't hold back from embracing a fancy lifestyle. Later, Dodi was widely spoken about on account of the fact that he was in a relationship with Princess Diana of Wales, in the 1990s — the two of them were even together when they died in a horrible road accident in Paris. According to an SBS article, his father had trouble coming to terms with his son's death and made many claims about his relationship with the princess. For example, he stated that she had been pregnant when she lost her life in the car crash. Here is the untold truth of Dodi Fayed.

Dodi Fayed was extremely privileged

It's undeniable that Dodi Fayed came from a rather privileged family background. According to a Reader's Digest piece, he was the oldest son in the family and had four siblings. His father (pictured) was a wealthy man: He owned the British department store Harrods along with Paris' Ritz hotel and the Fulham football club in England.  

Dodi's early years were filled with private jets, homes across the globe, lots of staff members, bodyguards, and drivers who looked after the family. When he was little, his parents decided to enroll him in an elite boarding school in Switzerland, and later, he studied at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. (Here's an interesting fact: Princess Diana's sons also studied at Sandhurst at some point in their lives.) Per Vanity Fair, thanks to his family wealth, Dodi had as much as $100,000 to spend every month for his expenses, but he was often perceived as a person who couldn't make it big by himself. Those close to him felt that he simply kept going from one thing to another and was always up to something extravagant — spending time on a luxury yacht, for instance. A producer who worked alongside him for several years, Jack Wiener, even said, "Around the office we used to always say, 'Dodi is a character in a movie.'"

His father was involved in several controversies

Dodi Fayed's father, Mohamed al-Fayed, was a part of several incidents. For one, according to The Independent, he came up with several conspiracy theories after his son and Diana died in Paris. Earlier, he publicly expressed his disappointment when he wasn't given British citizenship: He believed that his investments would be enough to earn him a spot. Unfortunately for him, he got into a nasty fight with the influential owner of the newspaper The Observer, Tiny Rowland, who was close to a Tory politician, which led to an official inquiry into Mohamed's business dealings. The inquiry reached the conclusion that the Fayeds had not been transparent about their finances.

The fight got uglier, and Mohamed tried to retaliate by hung up a shark in Harrods' food hall that had "Tiny" written on it. This didn't work out very well for him, and he was not granted his wish when he tried to get his hands on a British passport later. He got himself embroiled in an uglier controversy when he bribed some men to question Parliament and present arguments in Harrods' favor. When the businessman tried to get a British passport one more time in 1999, he was refused again, according to The Guardian. He said in a public statement, "It's okay, it's no problem, I'm not desperate, I'm not leaving the country, I'm here forever — I'm staying."

Dodi Fayed wasn't close to his parents

According to The Guardian, Dodi Fayed didn't have a great time as a child. One of his cousins, Hussein Khashoggi, mentioned that Mohamed al-Fayed and Samira Khashoggi parted ways when their oldest child was 4 years old. It's believed that Dodi was hardly around his parents when he was growing up, and he mostly spent time in private schools in different parts of the world.

His cousin said that they were raised in "a bit of a cocoon," which meant they were in a bubble of their own as kids. He explained, "You have your drivers, your bodyguards, your staff, and everyone protects you. You're sent to boarding schools, so you really only see your parents for three months in summer and a little bit in winter." In the book "Fayed: The Unauthorized Biography," author Tom Bower wrote that Dodi had a terrible childhood and was often lonely. When he was 10 years old, he would sometimes scream at night, something that would motivate his father to purchase an abundance of toys for his son the next day in a bid to compensate. What made matters worse for him was that his father simply couldn't decide between spending more time with his child and growing the family business.

He spent too much money

Dodi Fayed wasn't exactly known for being careful with his finances. According to The Guardian, one of Dodi's ex-partners, Denice Lewis, said that he would take her to lots of interesting places when they were together. The former model said, "We would go to the south of France and go out on the boat. It was a fairy-tale lifestyle." Additionally, according to Dodi's cousin, he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. Hussein Khashoggi explained that being surrounded by so much money leads to a "loss of purpose and a lot of: 'What am I doing? What is my goal?'"

Despite having as much money as he did, there were times when it wasn't enough and Dodi would end up confronting cash problems in the beginning of a month. The reasons were varied: He'd spend money on one of his girlfriends, or take an unexpected trip on a charter flight to an exotic destination like Gstaad. He also loved spending money on luxurious gadgets. In fact, Dodi was reportedly the first person in Los Angeles to get his hands on the new Sony Walkman.

His father eventually tried to intervene and helped his son by launching a business for him and making him a board member at Harrods. However, nothing worked out for Dodi until he decided to explore Hollywood.

Dodi Fayed worked on films

Per The Guardian, Dodi Fayed's career as a film producer only materialized after his father made the decision to financially support him, and he launched his company — Allied Stars — which was responsible for producing the Oscar-winning film "Chariots of Fire." According to the Los Angeles Times, Dodi also stood out for throwing glamorous parties and having a robust network in the film industry. 

After his death, well-known publicist Pat Kingsley praised Dodi's work ethic and said that he was extremely helpful. "As a producer he had a good reputation. Any time someone in the prime of their life is taken away it is a great loss. Whatever he wanted to do, the world was open to him," she said. The publicist also believed that he was a gentleman and always generous.

In a period of 17 years, Dodi worked on six films, such as "The Scarlet Letter," "Hook," "Breaking Glass," and more. He enjoyed the Hollywood lifestyle, and his events would often include famous names such as Brooke Shields and Robert Downey Jr. That said, the producer did face issues during his time in Hollywood, and he was called out for not sticking with some of the movies that he had agreed to work on. He was also accused of not paying his rent on occasion. Plus, it pained him to think that no matter what he achieved, he simply wasn't good enough in his father's eyes. 

He got kicked off the Chariots of Fire set for allegedly distributing cocaine to actors

As head of the film production company Allied Stars, Dodi Fayed was also the executive producer of the 1924 Olympics biopic "Chariots of Fire." However, film producer David Puttnam told the Daily Mail that he had to kick Dodi off the set of the film for allegedly giving cocaine to the actors.

Puttnam said he found out about Dodi's conduct after several of his actors showed up to work one day impaired and unable to do their jobs. Puttnam was willing to sweep the episode under the rug, as long as Dodi disappeared into the background and did not take further part in the movie's production. According to Puttnam, Dodi was lazy and "had other things on his mind than developing a film career for himself, of which girls and drugs rated pretty highly—and not necessarily in that order." Another unnamed member of the production crew told Town & Country that although Dodi was a good guy, he didn't actually know anything about movies — he just had his father's money and wanted to use it to get women.

The film was probably better off without Dodi. There were plenty of other problems, like lack of funds and an injury to lead actor Ian Charleson that nearly sidelined him from the role and stopped filming. As for Dodi, his father Mohamed al-Fayed found out about the whole episode and was disappointed that his son was blowing such an opportunity.

His marriage failed

What many people may not know about Dodi Fayed is that years before he started seeing Princess Diana, he was married to someone else. According to Town & Country Magazine, he tied the knot with a model named Suzanne Gregard (pictured) in 1986. However, it was a short-lived relationship, and they ended up filing for divorce after eight months. Later, his ex-wife seemed to defend him in interviews when he was called a playboy. She said (via Vanity Fair) that these "friendships with women were easier," and he simply seemed to hit it off with women in general.

But while Gregard and Dodi were dating, he was devoted to her and wouldn't hesitate to pamper her and book expensive flight tickets for her. Her brother Ken once remarked, "Dodi worshipped Suzanne. She actually told me once, 'You know, he gets down on the ground and kisses my feet.'"

He popped the question to her on New Year's Eve and took her for a honeymoon trip to Malibu. They got a townhouse in Manhattan later, but it was difficult for them to make it work: Dodi would end up traveling while Gregard would be busy with her photo shoots. The model was also not happy with the fact that they always had so many security guards around them. She said, "We were never alone."

Dodi Fayed was a playboy

The fact that Dodi Fayed was a womanizer who liked to mingle with women was not exactly a secret. According to Town & Country Magazine, he was well-known as a rich playboy who liked to be seen next to beautiful women. Over the years, many women were rumored to have dated the producer, such as Brooke Shields, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Tina Sinatra, Koo Stark, and others. Per The Guardian, Susannah Constantine was especially attracted to Dodi and hardly left his side when they were together.

One of his ex-girlfriends explained his strategy: "You have a ton of money, there are a bevy of beauties, you just point your finger like that and these girls are like ... they go after some men, and Dodi would be a definite catch for many of them." What's interesting is that Dodi wanted to cultivate his image in a particular manner and went to great lengths to make it happen. He even got a successful publicist on board to look after his public image. It seemed like he wanted to ensure that he was spotted with well-known women, but no one knew for sure whether he actually dated them.

He met Diana at a polo match

According to the BBC, Dodi Fayed was first introduced to Diana at a polo match. Interestingly, Mohamed al-Fayed was a friend to Earl Spencer, Diana's father, and per The Guardian, Princess Diana once bumped into Dodi's father at a charity function in the United Kingdom. He then offered to host Diana and her kids in France at his one of his posh houses. They agreed and visited him, which is how Dodi and Diana met once more in 1997, a few years after their first meeting (via Town & Country Magazine). It was a fun holiday; Diana and her sons, William and Harry, spent some quality time with the Fayeds and sailed on a yacht called the Jonikal in a picturesque location. 

Diana had so much fun that she decided to come back for another visit, getting to know Dodi better and bonding with him. Their time with each other was short but dramatic: It often involved finding a way to avoid the press and refusing to answer any questions from the media.

His involvement with Princess Diana was controversial

Kelly Fisher was a model who was reportedly engaged to Dodi Fayed, and according to Vanity Fair, they were still together when Dodi met Diana. In fact, when Diana was visiting France with her sons, Dodi was somehow hanging out with Diana and Fisher on different yachts. Strange but true. It's believed that Diana wasn't aware that Dodi was in a relationship with Fisher, but all hell broke loose when the model found out about her fiancé and his involvement with the Princess of Wales in August 1997.

She decided to go ahead with a lawsuit against Dodi, accusing him of violating a contract. She was heartbroken and couldn't wrap her head around the sequence of events. She also said that she was willing to meet Diana and talk to her about Dodi to explain what he actually was like. However, the princess chose to not engage. After the fatal crash took place in Paris, Fisher ended up withdrawing her lawsuit. Also, Mohamed al-Fayed was pretty harsh with his words while speaking publicly about Fisher: He accused her of being a gold-digger.

A priest claimed Diana had religious concerns about marrying him

It is unclear whether Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed were engaged to be married before their death in 1998. Most said no, while Dodi's father Mohamed al-Fayed said they were, because Diana was pregnant. (A post-mortem examination revealed no signs of pregnancy.) Regardless, it seems marriage was possible, as Anglican priest Fr. Frank Gelli claims Diana consulted him personally on the matter.

Religion was the cause of Diana's concern. For Dodi, it was not an issue, since Islam allows Muslim men to marry Christian women. Fr. Gelli told the Daily Express that the Anglican Diana was very excited about the possibility of marrying Dodi, but wanted to do so in an Anglican ceremony — a turn from her previous stance, wherein she reportedly considered converting to Islam to marry her previous Pakistani Muslim surgeon boyfriend Hasnat Khan. Her mother's hostility to her Muslim boyfriends may have inspired her to opt for a church wedding as a compromise, or perhaps she wanted to stick to her familiar traditions after cultural barriers led to her breakup with Khan. Fortunately for her, Gelli said Anglican teaching would allow the marriage.

Gelli claimed he agreed to marry Diana and Dodi in a London church called St. Mary Abbots, near Diana's old Kensington Palace. If the priest's story is true, it suggests that the two were in fact headed for marriage, despite claims from Diana's staffers that she had no interest in remarrying.

Dodi Fayed died with Diana by his side

On August 31, 1997, Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed were trying hard to get away from inquisitive members of the press. They were caught up in a high-speed chase with the paparazzi relentlessly pursuing them on the streets of Paris (via Parade). The driver of the car, Henri Paul, had consumed alcohol earlier and was speeding at twice the permissible limit when he found himself losing control.

This is what led to the horrific crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris. Dodi Fayed died on the spot, and so did Paul. Diana was alive and taken to a hospital, where she died from her injuries in the early hours of the morning. 

Here's a lesser known theory on Dodi Fayed: According to The Guardian, he was not quite understood by others. He was longing to win his dad's approval and knew that being around Diana was something that would bring him closer to that goal. When he died in the car next to Princess Diana, maybe he was being obedient and doing what Mohamed al-Fayed expected him to do: Stay next to the princess. 

His dad couldn't come to terms with his death

For Mohamed al-Fayed, losing his son in the car crash was a massive shock. Per The New York Times, the businessmen relentlessly chased the opportunity to talk about conspiracy theories in a court of law and waited for several years before he got his chance. His theory involved the royal family, and his statement accused Prince Philip and then-Princes Charles of hatching a plan with assistance from the intelligence services in the U.K. and France. He even believed that the CIA had played a role in the deadly crash.

Mohamed al-Fayed added that his son was targeted because he was Muslim and involved with the princess. He further claimed that Diana was pregnant with Dodi's child at the time of the crash and that the princess herself shared this with him in a phone conversation. (Forensic experts refuted this claim and said that she did not show any signs of being pregnant.) The Egyptian businessman also stated that Prince Philip was a racist who was against the idea of Diana being with Dodi, a Muslim man, "somebody who is naturally tanned, with curly hair." One of the lawyers involved in the proceedings rubbished the claims and criticized Mohamed al-Fayed, a man who didn't have any concrete evidence to support his claims. He told him, "You haven't even permitted this woman to have dignity in death, have you, Mr. Fayed?"

He was related to slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi

In 2018, a Saudi Arabian journalist named Jamal Khashoggi (pictured) was brutally killed in Istanbul, leading to an international outcry as journalists tried to uncover details surrounding his death. The murder led to many theories on the internet, including one that linked his death to his cousin, Dodi Fayed's, accident. According to The New Statesman, conspiracy theorists took to platforms like Reddit to discuss their thoughts on the topic. Basically, they believed that the two cases were somehow interconnected and were part of a complicated scheme that involved several countries and powerful entities. 

It was eventually established that while Jamal Khashoggi's death was indeed planned beforehand, it was not linked to Princess Diana's death at all. Prior to this, conspiracy theorists had also tried to establish a link between Adnan Khashoggi's death and Dodi Fayed's accident, as Adnan was Jamal's uncle and an arms dealer who passed away in 2017.