|Born:||March 24, 1951|
|Country of origin:||Heimerzheim|
|Source of wealth:||Brothel owner, consultant, TV star, author|
Bert Wollersheim is a contrasting, contradicting personality. On the one hand, quite sympathetic and funny, on the other hand, a clever businessman who does not shy away from criminal activities. Most probably know him from numerous television formats, which serve the easy to shallow entertainment. His relationship with the no less eccentric Sophia Vegas dominated the headlines for a long time. Gossip about his person, however, seems to put his real career in the background.
Wollersheim’s career begins with ordinary people and unspectacular in Heimerzheim in North Rhine-Westphalia, not far from Bonn. His father runs a hairdressing salon there, in which the young Bert is training. After completing the apprenticeship, Wollersheim moves on to the city, to Düsseldorf. There he follows in his father’s footsteps and opens his own hairdressing salon. He made a name for himself and became a star hairdresser. Even Dieter Thomas Heck, the famous cult moderator from the 70s to 90s, is one of his customers. But he can also make famous infamous pimps in the red light industry.
Bert Wollersheim senses new professional perspectives, succumbs to the call of the underworld. He goes to Cologne for a while, where he manages to get small odd jobs in the milieu. He works for the really big ones in business. Back in Düsseldorf, he opened his first cathouse in 1976 and called it “Darlings.” At the beginning of the 80s, the “Red Mile” opened. It is a brothel of the luxury class, which extends over three houses next to each other. And that in a quarter where normally only solid people live and work. But there is no reason to complain. Nobody disturbs the new neighbor. In addition, Wollersheim runs a limousine rental company.
Things are going well, Wollersheim is accumulating a considerable fortune. Then there is an incident that makes Wollersheim’s dubious temper apparent. One of his women employed in the brothel has entered into a firm partnership with a man who is not part of the industry. She no longer wants to work as a prostitute. Wollersheim demands money for this – as a transfer, so to speak. But he doesn’t get the money. Therefore, he has his former employee kidnapped without further ado. He holds her at home, but she can be released. This action should not go unpunished. Wollersheim has to go to prison. However, this incident does not seem to affect his successful career and popularity. He serves the sentence, is released and continues as before.
Bert Wollersheim does not run his establishments alone. There are still those responsible. These finally came to his undoing in 2012 when there was a large-scale raid in one of his brothels. Several suspects are arrested. Bert Wollersheim too. The charge: Brothel visitors were anesthetized with knock-out drops and then robbed of their credit cards. When the clients became aware of what had happened, the perpetrators had already withdrawn large sums of money from their credit cards without permission. So that nobody came up with the idea to defend themselves, the victims were blackmailed with spicy video material. Apart from that, cocaine is said to have been used illegally.
Bert Wollersheim is therefore in custody for 48 days. Then he was released immediately, because the ringleaders were different, as it turns out after a long judicial process. Wollersheim also seems to be able to cope well with this second prison stay. He behaves properly, gets along with his prisoners, and he even writes a book about that time. And besides, he still has his loyal partner Sophia Vegas, the 36 years younger breast wonder, who has lived a life full of pomp, splendor and glory with him for seven years. The bizarre couple’s relationship is publicly marketed. The Wollersheimers bluntly display their own lives on TV and entertain the masses. It couldn’t get any better. In the meantime, Wollersheim is again being targeted by the judiciary, this time because of a tax issue. He will not be prosecuted for this either. Once again, partners in his establishments were held responsible. Wollersheim claims that he had nothing to do with the incident and knew nothing about it.
But then the blow. Even if Wollersheim got away safely on the matter of “credit card theft on a large scale”, the authorities are forcing the closure of his 27-year-old brothel. Its main source of income is drying up.
The next defeat follows immediately: Sophia Vegas divorces him. There is no war of roses. In fact, she supports him with money for a while because she wants to help him despite the separation. A drop in the ocean, because for Wollersheim it still looks bad financially. He always lived opulently and didn’t put anything aside. His fortune is gone and his pension is insufficient to pay the estimated 1.5 million euros in debt. The income from current television appearances falls victim to seizures. He sells his belongings, mainly furniture from his former brothel. Even erotic toys are turned into money. In addition, he works as a consultant for another cathouse.
Luckily in 2019: Wollersheim has run down so much that he has to register for personal bankruptcy. But at the same time the district court of Düsseldorf ruled that Wollersheim was wrongly arrested and detained in the credit card affair. He is entitled to compensation for this – and not a small one, as his lawyer predicts. And Wollersheim will need money, because he is now planning offspring with his new partner, Ginger Costello. Wollersheim’s financial crisis takes this calmly and says that at least one cannot assume that she would marry him only because of the money. And Bert Wollersheim promises that they will not remain poor.
The best moments in Wollersheim’s life were probably those when he was allowed to leave prison as a free man. The fact that he was so successful with his audience on television should also have been a milestone for him. But basically his greatest achievement for him was probably the success of his long-established luxury brothels.
Wollersheim does not hesitate to make provocative statements, especially if he has looked too deeply into the glass. “I love to have a drink,” he admits frankly. And who does not fit him in the stuff “can go to hell.”
Bert Wollersheim is committed to women’s rights. In 2018 Eva-Maria Popp, an author from parish churches, published a book on women’s rights. For this, she hired various celebrities to contribute. Representatives of the state parliament, district councilors and Dieter Bohlen are represented. And Bert Wollersheim. In the chapter that is intended for him, he writes that he does not advocate forced prostitution and that women should resist when men grope them. Popp and Wollersheim know each other from before. She wrote his biography and describes him as a person full of humility and gratitude. Quite different than you think.