One of the richest men of his time, J. Paul Getty, owned an estate that exceeded $4 billion in net worth. This is what he wrote in his autobiography as quoted in the Los Angeles Times, January 9, 1981.
I have never been given to envy…save for the envy I feel toward those people who have the ability to make a marriage work and endure happily. It's an art I have never been able to master. My record: five marriages, five divorces. In short, five failures.
The article continues:
He termed the memories of his relationships with five sons "painful." Much of his pain has been passed on with his money. His most treasured offspring, Timothy, a frail child born when Getty was fifty-three, died in 1958 at the age of twelve of surgical complications after a sickly life spent mostly separated from his father who was forever away on business.
Other members of
the Getty family also suffered from tragic circumstances. A grandson, J. Paul
Getty III, was kidnapped and held for ransom of $2.9 million. When Getty refused
to pay, they held the boy for five months and eventually cut off his right ear.
Getty's oldest son apparently committed suicide amid strange circumstances.
Another son, Gordon Paul Getty, has been described as living a tortured existence.
He was ridiculed in correspondence by his father and was the least favored son.
Similar sorrow has followed other members of this unfortunate family.