Go figure: It turns out the jilted, crazy wife of Shubert Organization President Philip Smith, who aired their messy divorce battle on YouTube, has a long history of turbulent relationships and public flame-outs involving mostly men. Judging from the profile that just appeared in New York, the wife, Tricia Walsh-Smith, has done two sensible things in her life, starting with her lucrative appearance in close to 500 television commercials, including the Hellmann's mayonnaise ad pictured at left. She also wrote and starred in a popular play in Britain called Bonkers, about "a bulimic ex-model whose husband is always having affairs." Everything else has been kind of a disaster, particularly her many breakups:

  • Her first husband ran a nightclub for Hilton hotels, then was sidelined by open-heart surgery. They had a kid, she had to work, he tried to leech her money, it turns out he was hoarding a small fortune in a safe.
  • "A string of quashed engagements and entanglements:"
  • Canadian businessman
  • UN official
  • Bristol entrepreneur
  • Son of a Spanish Count (three hours)
  • Missed court-ordered therapist appointments, lost custody of child, tried to overdose on sleeping pills. Child starting hanging up on her.
  • "The Face," a cute California surfer who lied about owning a yacht and turned out to be very dumb.
  • Runs off with a "sooo dangerous" Italian yachtsman who proposed the night they met. Relationship wrecked by Hurricane Seymour.
  • Becomes engaged to perfume manufacturer in New York, 30 years older. Goes into rehab. Decides she's a "man addict," attends Emotions Anonymous, forswears romance.
  • Meets Smith, he of the YouTube video.

When they met, Walsh-Smith liked Smith's "sexy radio voice" but there was no sex, ever, except maybe for one time in Palm Beach (" I did candles"). She pushed him into marriage after two-and-a-half years of dating. They broke up for a year, he took her back, but insisted on the now-infamous prenup in which she has to move out within 30 days of a divorce filing and is guaranteed only $750,000 — none of his earnings during marriage.

As with her first husband, Walsh-Smith felt unable to spend as freely as she would have liked. She got to fly on the Concorde, but did not like having to shop at Nine West. She said he blocked her attempts to write for theater, saying it violated conflict-of-interest policies at his company, which owns various theaters.

She's already gone through two different divorce lawyers. The first she fell out with over her propensity for talking to the press; the second because he allegedly wanted some of the spotlight for himself (she claims he pressed to go on Today with her).

All of this — the breakups, fights, messing around — is fairly torturous and pedestrian. Walsh-Smith deserves credit, at least, for somehow making it fascinating to millions of people on YouTube and conjuring at least the possibility of a reality television payday. As embarrassing as her antics are, it is easy to imagine her arriving at a sadder, less celebrated life station had she lacked her particular, err, pluck and dramatic flair, let's say.

[New York]

(Photo by Tricia Walsh-Smith via New York)