Supermodel Karen Mulder was a force to be reckoned with in the modeling world in the '80s and '90s. She quickly rose from teen model to in-demand fashion figure in the industry. What happened to Karen Mulder since then? In the early '00s, the Dutch star battled some highly publicized mental breakdown and made some shocking allegations that stunned family, friends, and those who knew her best.
Karen's career beginning was out of a fairy tale. A friend took photographs of her in 1985 and secretly submitted them to Elite Model Management in France. With no modeling experience, she placed second in the agency's "Look of the Year" contest. Within two years, she was on the runway modeling for the biggest designers in fashion. Yet the glory didn't last. After retiring, she lashed out at former colleagues and associates, accusing them of terrible things. She held nothing back when it came to detailing the abuse. But how much of it actually happened?
By The Early '90s, She Was Making More Than $13,000 A Day
In 1985, she won the Elite Model of the Year contest at just 15. From there, her career took off. By the age of 18, she had modeled for designers such as Valentino, Versace, Armani, and Yves Saint Laurent. She became one of the top 10 highest-paid and in-demand models, appearing on the covers of Elle, Vogue, other high fashion magazines. When she was 21, she earned millions of dollars by teaming up with Guess?, appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, and worked for Victoria's Secret. At the height of her career she was making $13,500 a day.
She Claimed Multiple People Tried To Rape Her, Including Prince Albert Of Monaco
In 2001, she appeared on a the French TV show Tout le Monde en Parle and claimed several people in the French modeling world as well as a member of a European royal family raped her (that royal turned out to be Prince Albert of Monaco). Mulder also said she was sexually assaulted in her childhood, and that politicians and police used her and other models as sex slaves.
The interview was so scandalous and borderline libelous that the TV network cut the interview from its program and reportedly destroyed the master tape. But Mulder told the French police as well, who launched a criminal investigation. It wasn't long before her allegations made headlines around the world.
One Of Her Accused Rapists Paid For Her To Spend Several Months In A Psychiatric Hospital
After her interview in 2001, Mulder's sister sent her to Montsouris hospital in Paris where she received psychiatric treatment for depression and anxiety for several months. She was given a strong cocktail of drugs to combat her mental health issues.
Her stint at Montsouris was paid for by the president of Elite Model Management, Gerald Marie. He was one of the men who Mulder claimed had raped her. Though she later recanted her claims, time would show that her accusations against him were not the only ones. A controversial BBC documentary filmed Marie trying to pay a 15-year-old model for sex and boasting about all the teenage models he was going to have sex with from the Elite Model Look competition. Model Carré Otis wrote in her memoir that Marie raped her in the '80s when she was a 17-year-old.
Mulder Went Into A Coma Following A Suicide Attempt
In 2002, Mulder overdosed on pain pills while attempting suicide. Her former fiance, Jean-Yves Le Fur, found her and called medics. She was in a coma for two days. She suffered from depression after quitting modeling, telling the media in 2000, "From the beginning, I hated being photographed. For me, it was just an assumed role, and in the end, I didn't know who I really was as a person. Everybody was saying to me, 'Hi, you're fantastic.' But inside, I felt worse from day to day."
Her parents blamed the modeling industry and the proliferation of drugs and eating disorders for their daughter's psychological issues. At one point during her career, Mulder was asked to name her favorite food. She purportedly answered, "I don't like food."
Mulder placed the sole blame on her depression for how her life collapsed after retirement:
I have never been addicted to any substance. I always had a big weight of depression on my shoulders that I didn't understand. Even at the height of my career I didn't feel happy. When I was working I didn't crack as I was so focused. It was when I stopped it all collapsed.