Betsey Johnson endeared herself to Dancing With the Stars fans with her fancy footwork at the age of 72. But for more than 30 years, the iconic fashion designer has been dancing around the identity and back story of the mystery man who became the second of her three husbands — with good reason, unfortunately, as Star has exclusively learned.
Betsey was 38 when she wed Jeffrey Oliviere in February 1981. “Jeffrey’s sister was also in the fashion industry, and he and Betsey met at a party in NYC,” a family friend tells Star. “He was tall, charming, handsome, artistic and cultured, and he knocked Betsey for a loop.”
He was also a heroin addict, the friend reveals. “Jeff’s occupation was sous chef, but his addiction made it hard for him to hold on to a job. He began stealing to support his habit — and Betsey wasn’t immune, even though she was his wife. Jeffrey would simply take her money if it was lying around and even pawned some of her possessions for cash. Obviously, their marriage was doomed to be a short one.”
The couple separated after a few months, and Betsey finally field for divorce in 1984: she’s never publicly mentioned his name since their split.
“Jeffrey was jailed a few times for breaking and entering in the years following their divorce,” the friend adds. “He finally overdosed on heroin in a bathroom in 1988 and died. It’s so sad; he was basically a good man.”
As for her three failed marriages, says Betsey, “I could have regrets, but where does that get you?”