Athina Roussel has started a legal battle to take control of the Onassis Foundation ... Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes talk Christmas wedding.

Tinsley Mortimer

Tinsley Mortimer

Photo By WWD Staff

Athina Roussel, who turns 21 in January, has started a legal battle to take control of the multibillion-dollar Onassis Foundation, which her grandfather, shipping mogul Aristotle Onassis, created to donate money to scientific research and the arts. Onassis established the foundation after his son, Alexander, was killed in a plane crash in 1973, and endowed it with half of his fortune. The other half went to his daughter, Christina Onassis Roussel, who died in 1988, and was held in trust for Athina, who received $2.7 billion when she turned 18 in 2003.

The foundation's board announced last month that it was amending one of its statutes, which originally stated that the foundation's president must be at least 21 years old and a descendent of its creator. Now the statute states that the foundation president need not be an heir of Onassis, but must only have a majority vote from the board, which is made up of descendants of the original members.

Athina, who lives in São Paulo, Brazil, with her 32-year-old fiancé, Brazilian horseman Alvaro de Miranda Neto, always has had mixed feelings about her heritage. She once wanted to forget the name Onassis, saying, "It is the cause of all the problems." But she obviously is not ready to forget the money and power, not for a minute.

Athina is accusing the foundation of "staging a coup" against her and it reacted to her actions last week by claiming she is "seeking to violate the expressed desire of Aristotle Onassis as recorded in his will," adding that it will "defend Onassis' memory and will in court." Let the games begin.


Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are talking about having a Christmas wedding, so they say. Noël is their favorite holiday and it's the only time their hectic schedules allow them to calm down a teensy-weensy bit. Are they really planning a big wedding with both their families and Hollwood friends, such as Kelly Preston and John Travolta, Juliette Lewis and Lisa Marie Presley, on the guest list? Katie says she will take her husband's last name after they marry. And Tom wants her to use the name Kate instead of Katie, so how does Kate Cruise sound to you?
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