Palm Beach County has its fair share of deep-pocketed party animals. But none of the usual trust-fund wild men has the same tabloid pedigree as Paul David Pope. Son of the founder of the National Enquirer, Pope is best-known today for his frequent legal battles with his mother over what remains of the family’s wealth. But now Pope is preparing to bring his own life story to a wider audience. The tabloid heir is prepping the launch of a tell-all memoir. Working title: Confessions of a Rich Kid From Hell.
“I’m putting everything on the table,” Pope tells New Times. “There is going to be a lot of shock, a lot of jaw-dropping.”
The project, Pope explains, is a natural extension of his previously published book, The Deeds of My Father. The 2010 page-turner documented the Pope family’s rise in America. In 1906, Generoso Pope Sr. arrived in New York City and went on to conquer the Italian-language newspaper market. His son, Gene Pope, developed a fledgling paper into the National Enquirer, creating tabloid journalism in the process. After Gene’s death in 1988, the paper was sold for $412 million.
Lois Pope — Gene’s third wife and now a Palm Beach philanthropist — received $200 million from the 1989 sale. Although Paul, like his siblings, pocketed $20 million, it was a disappointment for him. He had pooled together investors to buy the business but was outbid. Pope complains he was denied his family legacy.
Over the last 25 years, Pope has tangled with Lois in court. The son says his mom has squandered the family fortune. Mom has fired back, repeatedly claiming in court she’s given millions more to her son and describing him as a whiny, irresponsible trust-fund kid who gets nasty when he runs out of cash.
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Although he didn't land the paper, after the sale, Pope was left with a dangerous combo: money and aimlessness. As the book’s promotional material claims, Pope went on to a string of misadventures that will read like “James Bond meets The Devil Wears Prada mixed with a bit of Charlie Sheen,” he promises. Pope promises a turboversion of the usual rich-dude antics, from walking into a private meeting with Pope John Paul II while suffering a massive hangover to employing paranormal investigators to ghost-bust his houses.
“I’ve given [the family] their rightful place in history,” Paul says. “Now it’s time for me to have some fun and talk about my life.”
The book will be available by the end of 2015. “I’m going to self-publish it,” Pope says. “I want to do it all myself and not have to deal with publishers and distributors.”
The tell-all is also being shopped around for a film or television spinoff.