Liliane Bettencourt Net Worth & Biography

Popular Name: Liliane Bettencourt
Real Name: Liliane Henriette Charlotte Schueller
Birth Date: 21 October 1922
Birth Place: Paris, French Third Republic
Age: Died on 21 September 2017 (aged 94)
Gender: Female
Nationality/Citizenship: French
Height: N/A
Weight: N/A
Sexuality: Straight
Marital Status: Divorced
Spouse(s): André Bettencourt ​(m. 1950; d. 2007)
Children: 1
Profession: Businesswoman
Years active: N/A
Net Worth: $46 Billion
Last Updated: 2022

Liliane Bettencourt was a French businesswoman who was one of the major shareholders of L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company. A beautiful socialite and philanthropist who was considered one of the most powerful women in the world, she was the wealthiest woman in France and the second-wealthiest woman in the world, marginally behind Christy Walton. She was born into affluence as the only child of Eugène Schueller, the man who founded L’Oréal, one of the largest cosmetics and beauty companies in existence today. She developed an interest in the business at an early age and joined her father’s company to help out as an apprentice in his company as a teenager. Having lost her mother at a young age, she was very dear to her father and worked with him toward expanding their business. She went on to marry her countryman and politician André Bettencourt. Over the years she rose in prominence and became the deputy chairman of L’Oréal and later inherited the L’Oréal fortune upon the passing of her father, becoming the principal shareholder of the company. An ambitious entrepreneur, Liliane worked tirelessly to expand her late father’s business and acquired other cosmetic brands. In addition to being one of the wealthiest persons in the world, she also made many headlines for her controversial affair with the much younger François-Marie Banier and also due to her estrangement from her only daughter, Francoise.

Early Life: Childhood, Education

Liliane Henriette Charlotte Schueller was born in Paris, France, on 21 October 1922, as the only child of Eugène Schueller and Louise Madeleine Berthe. Her mother was a pianist while her father was a chemist. She was just five years old when her mother died and she developed a very close relationship with her father, Eugène Schueller, who was an enterprising man who had developed synthetic hair dyes and launched a company to sell them. Eventually, he grew the business to include other different kinds of cosmetics as well. Starting from her childhood days, Liliane was naturally inclined towards her father’s work and joined the cosmetic business when she was 15 years old, helping at her father’s stores as an apprentice. The products of the company, L’Oreal, at that time, were available in around 17 countries.

Professional Life: Entrepreneurial Career

She assumed the position of Deputy Chairman of her father’s company, L’Oreal, during the 1950s. Her father passed away in 1957 and left her with the L’Oreal fortune, and thus, became the principal shareholder of the company.

L’Oreal went public in 1963 though Liliane continued to own a majority stake.

During the early 1970s, Liliane exchanged half of her shares in L’Oreal for a 3 percent share in Nestle after she feared that the company might get nationalized. She harbored great ambitions for the company and undertook a huge expansion strategy by acquiring multiple other beauty companies, including the American fashion retailer Ralph Lauren, the American cosmetics company Helena Rubinstein, the luxury beauty brand Lancôme, and combined them into her own business. Under her leadership, the company performed well and grew to become one of the world’s largest cosmetics companies. Her wealth increased manifold over the years that followed and she rose to become one of the richest women in the world.

In 1995, she became a member of the Board of Directors and ended her tenure as the Board Director in 2012. She was succeeded by her grandson, Jean-Victor.

Achievements: Awards & Honors

The late Liliane Bettencourt performed exceptionally during her time alive, no doubt. She took over from her father after he passed, and the tremendous work she put in towards transforming the business is evident today in the company’s structure and success in the last few decades. As a result of her efforts in business and in philanthropy, Liliane received the La Légion d’honneur from the French government. This award is the highest civilian decoration in the country of France.

Personal Life: Husband, Children, Private Interests

In 1950, Liliane Bettencourt wedded Andre Bettencourt. He was a prominent French politician and the founder of La France Agricultural and Le Courrier Cauchois. Her husband served as senator and MP from 1951 to 1995. This marriage resulted in the birth of a daughter, Françoise. Andre died in 2007.

In 2007, she became the center of a high-profile hullabaloo regarding her relationship with François-Marie Banier, a photographer that was much younger than her. She first met him in 1987 and the two became friends along the line, and Liliane became his chief benefactor. She bestowed gifts upon him estimated to be worth more than €1.3 billion and it was also reported that she had made Banier her heir. This infuriated Francoise, her only daughter, who pressed charges against Banier accusing him of exploiting Liliane’s failing health and mental weaknesses for his personal gains. After a lengthy court battle, Liliane removed the photographer from her will.

Lilian Bettencourt passed away on September 21, 2017, at her residence in Paris, France. She was the 13th richest person in the world at the time she breathed her last. While alive, she was known to be an avid art collector whose collection was worth more than €20 million and includes pieces by painters like Braque, Chirico, Munch, Juan Miro, Fernand Léger, Picasso, Girodet, and Matisse.


Liliane, together with her husband, Andre, and their only daughter, Francoise, instituted the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation in 1987. Based in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, the not-for-profit organization supports scientific research and education, social and humanitarian projects, and culture and arts. The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation also sponsors prizes through which resources are disbursed to various recipients. It also helped to finance the Monet wing at the Musée Marmottan Monet in a bid to raise awareness about French art.

Liliane Bettencourt Net Worth: Salary, Income Sources, Assets

Liliane Bettencourt, the Paris-born businesswoman and philanthropist who died an heiress, was worth around $46 billion at the time of her death. Her $46 billion fortune made her the wealthiest woman on the planet and the richest person in France. She was also the 11th richest individual in the world overall. After putting several factors into consideration, it can be argued that Liliane was the sixth-richest woman in history at the peak of her wealth. The other five women who rank ahead of her are all from centuries ago.

She made her wealth by inheriting the majority stake in the world’s leading cosmetics company, L’Oreal, from her late father who founded the company. Today, The Bettencourt Meyers family owns roughly 33 percent of the share capital of L’Oreal.

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