Rob and Suki’s lavish lifestyle has been documented in the media, but has their romance actually panned out? We’ll discuss whether their relationship has been forged in fire or simply in ice. 

A Marriage Of Luxury

With a combined net worth of over $250 million, it’s no wonder that billionaire entrepreneur and art collector Robert Duvall chose to marry high-end designer Susan Bulgatz in 2009. The couple had been together since 2004 and were known for their flashy lifestyle. After tying the knot, their extravagant spending habits were the subject of much speculation. But has their union been worth the extravagant investment?

Though their net worths differ significantly, it’s safe to assume that Rob and Suki have enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle. Not only have they been able to finance extensive art collections, but they’ve also been able to maintain an extremely active social schedule. The duo are best known for their charity work, which has benefited numerous organizations including their alma mater, Cornell University. As of 2017, they remain active supporters of the university and were one of the founders of the Robert Duvall Institute for Global Affairs. They were also previously involved with Habitat for Humanity and, as a part of their Giving Back program, have sponsored a number of deserving children. They are also well-known for their patronage of the arts, with previous exhibitions featuring works by Marc Chagall, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol.

A Marriage Of Convenience

Marriage, as it was first intended, is a noble union between two people who love and respect each other. For the most part, that’s how most people see it. But for some, tying the knot is simply the best way to ensure that their families stay together. Perhaps these individuals see marriage as a means of maintaining their wealth or status, or perhaps they believe that materialistic pursuits can coexist with true love. Whatever the case may be, there is no denying that some people view marriage as a practical decision.

Take, for example, the story of hedge fund manager Steven Mnuchin and his fiancée, investment banker Louise Linton. They had been together for ten years before getting hitched in June 2017. Mnuchin, who is now the United States Secretary of the Treasury, is one of the wealthiest men in the world with an estimated net worth of over $40 million. Linton is a self-made millionaire, whose net worth is around $20 million. The pair opted for a simple wedding ceremony at the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, where they are both based. Though it was a private affair, over 100 guests attended, including some of Mnuchin’s high-profile friends and family members. After the ceremony, the couple attended a wedding reception at Little Red Locks. In a statement to the press, Louise noted that she and her husband-to-be had chosen to wed during a time of “great distress,” but that they had both felt drawn to each other “in a way that couldn’t be ignored.”

A Love Match?

While the above examples may seem like real-life fairy tales, they are in fact just that – stories. Despite the prevalence of true love and romance portrayed in the media, most people have no real idea what constitutes a happy marriage. Instead of being a fairytale, most marriages are simply a battle of convenience, pitting two people who happen to be in love against one another, and their families, for better or worse.

In a 2013 Gallup poll, 56% of respondents said that their parents were the most influential person in their lives, and 13% said that their partners were. These findings suggest that children, especially the young, may be growing up in a more collaborative and interdependent society. As relationships evolve, traditional pairings may no longer be sufficient; individuals may choose to partner with (or marry) individuals of the same sex or of a different ethnicity.

Sukiy’s Career As A High-End Designer

One indication of a successful marriage is the ability of the partners to raise happy and healthy children. Designer Susan Bulgatz’s daughter, Sukiy, bears resemblance to her mother in both looks and personality. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in economics, Sukiy began her career at Goldman Sachs in New York before relocating to London to begin a career in high-end design. She began by joining Bulgatz Inc, a brand consultancy that she now runs with her partner, Oliver Bonas. In an interview with The Muse, Sukiy said that her partnership with her mother has allowed her to “learn so much about business and to see the world from a unique perspective not many women can claim.”

In the same interview, Sukiy noted that her late father, Robert, was a huge influence on her life, stating, “He supported me in every way and gave me the confidence to be myself, to dream big, and to follow my heart.”

An Unlikely Duo

Though they’ve been together for over ten years, it is safe to say that Rob and Suki’s relationship started off somewhat awkwardly. The couple met while in college at Cornell University where they both studied accounting. It wasn’t until years later that they began to see each other as more than a partner, with Rob slowly evolving into a more prominent figure in Suki’s life. Even then, their relationship was somewhat unconventional, with Rob often going above and beyond the call of fatherhood, while Suki remained an independent ‘modern’ woman.

While most people would consider Rob and Suki’s story to be that of a fairytale, it actually offers an insight into the changing nature of 21st century-marriages. For the most part, those who choose to marry today want to create a family and stay together for the sake of their children. What’s more, many seek a more equal footing in their relationship, with half of today’s couples opting to share household duties. Perhaps, in future, we’ll see a rise in ‘domestic duos’ made up of a husband and wife who both hold prominent positions in their respective organizations.