Imagine you are rich. Really, seriously rich. So rich that you can afford to build a 90,000 acre dream house, based on an actual French palace – the Palace of Versailles. Then imagine losing everything.
That’s what happened to David and Jackie Segal, one of America’s richest couples. He made billions from his time-share business, Westgate Resorts, selling (ironically) hundreds of Americans their idea of the American Dream – luxury lifestyles at an affordable rate.
David married former beauty queen Jackie, 31 years his junior, in 2000. Roll on seven years and millions of dollars later, and the couple are intent on re-creating the Palace of Versailles in Florida, thus building America’s Biggest House.
With 10 kitchens, 30 bathrooms, two tennis courts, a baseball field, two swimming pools and an ice rink, it was to be twice as big as the Whitehouse. Not too shabby, eh?
Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield decided to make a documentary about the billionaire couple’s project. She was given incredible access to the couple, their eight children, their 26,000 acre Florida mansion home and, of course, the beginnings of their mammoth project.
‘Why am I building the biggest house in America? Because I can,’ a smug David told the camera.
But mid-way through the filming process, the recession hit, time shares went bust and they lost millions. David was forced to sack thousands of his employees and Jackie had to forgo her $1 million a year clothing allowance, swapping YSL for Walmart.
Plans to build their dream home were scuppered and who could afford to buy it? $5 million worth of marble is still boxed away in the basement.
A fascinating film of their story is released on Friday. We’ve interviewed Lauren in this week’s Grazia, and you can watch an exclusive clip of the film below.
Trust us, it’s worth seeing.
By Scarlett Russell