Woman Marries Recluse Millionaire 25 Years Older, Discovers He Left Her Nothing after He Dies
When a woman married a wealthy hermit 25 years her senior, she became the talk of the town and the subject of countless speculations. But it wasn't until her husband died that she realized she had lost more than a life partner.
While money is undoubtedly needed to afford a luxurious life, it doesn't always guarantee happiness. Some of the most precious moments we experience have little or nothing to do with money.
Sometimes, disagreements over money might result in family feuds, drifting apart loved ones, and causing sadness and heartbreak. A millionaire underwent something similar when he decided to live a life that didn't depend on his money. But not everyone thought the same of his wife.
A WEALTHY HERMIT AND A GLAMOROUS URBANITE
Sandrine Devillard was a glamorous Parisian woman who ran four businesses in her home country, including an estate agency. The blonde-haired lady was always dressed to the nines, making a classy fashion statement with her designer outfits.
She was accustomed to a lavish lifestyle, which suited her attractive personality. On the other hand, Marcel Amphoux was a gap-toothed recluse, a land-owner and eccentric farmer who lived in the French Alpine village of Puy-Saint-Pierre.
Despite owning five Alpine shepherd's huts on valuable land, Amphoux preferred to live like a recluse on the slopes close to Puy-Saint-Pierre, near the major ski resort of Serre-Chevalier in Southeastern France. A French newspaper reported that he lived like a bear.
SHE MADE HIM AN OFFER
The prime location of Amphoux's property meant it was worth millions — a fact that Devillard was well aware of when she met him and expressed a strong desire to buy his land. If they were converted into chalets, the huts could bring enormous fortune.
But everything changed when Amphoux's last will and testament came forward in 2016, scribbled on the back of an envelope.
Although the toothless hermit owned the lodges, he was never bothered about their financial potential. Even the people who lived in them paid a peppercorn rent. So, much to Devillard's dismay, Amphoux refused to sell the land.
AN UNEXPECTED UNION
But the alluring Parisian lady was determined to turn things around, and she responded by asking him out on a date. Astonishingly, the eccentric bachelor, who used a bicycle to move around and claimed to converse with the aliens, was captivated by her beauty.
After a brief courtship came a piece of startling news that appalled the entire village — the unexpected marriage. While Devillard reassured everyone she loved Amphoux wholeheartedly, none of her statements were convincing enough for the villagers.
One crisp, sunny day in September 2011, 67-year-old Amphoux and 42-year-old Devillard became husband and wife and sealed their union in the civic hall in Puy-Saint-Pierre, which had a population of only 500 and was surrounded by snow-capped peaks.
THE VILLAGERS' REACTION
Devillard wore a flowing mauve silk gown and carried a flower bouquet. Her designer jewelry complimented her fancy dress. Amphoux wore a grey suit, mauve silk tie, waistcoat, and his battered, floppy hat, with his wiry grey hair poking out of the sides.
However, residents of the Alpine village booed and heckled throughout the wedding ceremony. Their hostility was directly aimed at Devillard, who had no previous connections with the closely-knit town. One of the locals named Jacques shared:
"People were booing and jeering. They all knew Marcel well and considered that Sandrine was solely after his property and money."
A DECLARATION OF LOVE
Many suspected that the blonde estate agent allegedly manipulated the disheveled land-owner and was only after his wealth. The couple's honeymoon was arranged for Paris, but Amphoux reportedly returned home alone after complaining he hated the city.
The newlyweds stayed in touch, but their marriage remained controversial. However, Devillard concocted a perfect plan to prove her love to Amphoux and silence the speculators.
In April 2012, she released a music video where she sang a song called "L'appel Du Soleil" (The Call Of The Sun). The footage showed Devillard cavorting in the Alpine meadows like a blonde Julie Andrews in her sparkling white robe.
A MAN OF FEW WORDS
Amphoux reportedly appeared from the back in a hood and in the video's last moments when he and Devillard kissed. The music video showed the glamorous Parisian's transformation from a city woman to a rural homemaker. At the time, Devillard revealed:
"Marcel is a man from the Middle Ages, even prehistoric times. I am a true Parisian. I still live there. But I visit my husband as often as I can."
But Amphoux, who was quiet in the entire music video and even otherwise, spoke to a local paper in June 2012 about his marriage and relationship with Devillard. He admitted he had not heard from his wife for some time.
THE HORRIFIC ACCIDENT
The wealthy farmer also added:
"I'm afraid of losing everything."
In November 2012, Amphoux met with a tragic road accident where his car plummeted down a ravine in heavy mist, and he succumbed to his wounds. The driver and another passenger, both Devillard's friends, survived.
MORE DRAMA ENSUED
The driver was later tried for manslaughter but acquitted. The entire village of around 500 people flocked for the "Hermit of the Alps'" funeral. Also present at the solemn occasion was the glamorous widow, 25 years younger than her late husband.
Devillard dressed in pitch-black attire for the funeral and was said to have hurled herself into Amphoux's grave to prove her love to her dead husband. However, the locals continued to hail insults at the Parisian lady. Jacques recalled:
"People were furious with Sandrine, they didn't stop letting her know."
THE TESTIMONY THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
Under French law, it was thought that Devillard would be entitled to her husband's grand fortune. But everything changed when Amphoux's last will and testament came forward in 2016, scribbled on the back of an envelope.
He had made it clear in his will that he wished for his money to pass to a female cousin and the huts bequeathed to the current tenants. It seemed the rich hermit wasn't naive at all, as he didn't leave a penny for his gorgeous, young wife.
A furious Devillard allegedly challenged the will's authenticity and claimed it was not in Amphoux's handwriting. She also called herself a victim of abuse of trust, attempted extortion, and forgery by the new heirs.
But Prosecutor Raphael Balland declared that handwriting experts had confirmed Amphoux wrote the will. Thus, Devillard's allegations were rejected.
We can learn many life lessons from this rich hermit and his attractive young wife's story. Amphoux gave little importance to money and valued relationships, family, and love like a true gentleman.
However, Devillard allegedly deceived her husband and was even blamed for scheming and plotting against him. She failed to earn a place in Alpine villagers' hearts until the end. What are your takeaways from this story? Don't forget to share it with your loved ones.
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