New York — Richmond's own Manhattan socialite/model/designer Tinsley Mortimer soon may be an eligible bachelorette.
Gossip hounds in New York and certain social circles are atwitter with reports that Mortimer and her husband, Robert “Topper” Mortimer, are ending their marriage. Neither party returned phone calls, but a source close to Topper confirms the reports.
Tinsley Mortimer, who's in her early 30s, has plenty of ties with Richmond. She grew up on Cary Street Road, the daughter of wealthy businessman George Mercer Jr., of Mercer Rug & Carpet Cleaning, and Dale Mercer, who claims lineage with Thomas Jefferson. She returns to Richmond occasionally; in 2007 she starred in a fashion shoot at Tuckahoe Plantation for Virginia Living magazine.
Tinsley met Topper Mortimer, who comes from an old-money New York family, at boarding school in New Jersey and eloped with him at 18. After a Mortimer-family-forced annulment, she remarried him after college in 2002.
Since the couple moved to New York Tinsley has skyrocketed to stardom on the New York social scene with her long goldilocks, sculpted nose and impeccable party dresses.
After social-life photographer Patrick McMullan took a liking to Mortimer she began appearing in fashion magazines. (McMullan currently has 2,660 photos of Tinsley Mortimer on his site available for media society pages; her husband appears in 28 of them.)
The fashion shoots launched her famous-for-being-fabulous career. She's held such titles as “beauty ambassador” for Dior; handbag and clothing designer for Japanese company Samantha Thavasa; cameo star on CW's “Gossip Girl”; and recently “lifestyle director” for a new condo-hotel project being built at 57th and Fifth Avenue. None of which reportedly pleased her husband.
The first public signs of trouble surfaced in October 2007 when The New York Times published a story wherein Topper Mortimer came clean about his distaste for his wife's public life. The Times quoted him as saying: “It's not necessarily the type of goal that anybody should strive for, going out every night for the sake of self-promotion and getting their pictures taken. … These are girls who went to good colleges. You would think they'd have something better to do.”
A year later, The New York Post's Page Six gossip column reported that the couple began telling friends they were separated, and that the newly slender Topper's running around is what prompted the quiet leak.
Tinsley, after an uncharacteristic absence from the social circuit, was spotted in England this summer, according to a Vanity Fair blog. Her attendance at one of Europe's premier social events, the Cartier International Polo Day at the Guards Polo Club, is fueling rumors that she's after German aristocrat Casimir Wittgenstein-Sayn, son of Prince Alexander of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn and Countess Gabriella of Schonborn-Wiesentheid.
Could Tins be ready to make the leap from Upper East Side to German castle?