The royal who accused Kevin Spacey of sex assault has died
Heartbreaking details have emerged of the tortured and "lonely" life of former Norwegian royal Ari Behn, who died by suicide on Christmas Day.
The writer, who was one of Kevin Spacey's sexual assault accusers, once described his fear that he wouldn't live to see his three daughters grow up in an emotional interview conducted years before he took his own life.
He had also described himself as a "clown", crippled by how he was perceived by the public following his divorce from Princess Martha Louise of Norway.
The 47-year-old father of three, who was married to Princess Martha for 15 years until 2017, first detailed his mental health battle and alcoholism while he was a member of the Norwegian royal family in a candid interview with Massiv magazine in 2009.
"I just work harder until lunch, and I can take the day's first drink around 1.30pm … that's happening more often, unfortunately. It's a bad habit I've picked up," he told the publication.
He went on to explain that he was afraid his battle with alcoholism would impact his fatherhood, rendering him unable to see his daughters Maud, 16, Leah, 14 and Emma, 11, become adults.
"The only thing I fear is that I will not be able to complete the project I have started with my wife, namely to raise three wonderful daughters to become independent, wise individuals with critical empathy and a reality understanding that takes them far past Akersgata, to say it carefully," Behn said, referring to Oslo's city centre.
He then described his life as becoming "more and more lonely," before eerily predicting that he would die alone.
"I'm going to die without the company of anyone, but without being lonely and bitter," he told the magazine. "It's like I'm never really able to connect with anyone."
Behn, whose union with Princess Martha was shrouded in controversy when they first met in the early 2000s, published his first book, a collection of short stories called Sad As F***, in 1999.
He had received criticism from royal followers upon the discovery of a television program he had written that depicted sex workers taking drugs in Las Vegas.
He also clashed with Norwegian media in 2013 when he was allegedly paid by a gossip magazine for an interview, despite complaining about its coverage.
In 2017, Behn again made headlines when he alleged he was groped by actor Kevin Spacey at a Nobel Peace Prize banquet in Oslo in 2007.
He said that during the event, which was hosted by the Oscar-winning actor and Uma Thurman, Spacey propositioned him before touching his genitalia under the table.
"We had a nice conversation, he was sat next to me," Behn told Norwegian radio station P4.
"After five minutes, he says 'Hey, let's go out and have a cigarette' - and then he touched me right on the balls under the table.
"I got more than I bargained for," he said, before revealing all he could say in response to the actor's advances was "eh, maybe later".
Behn's death comes just three months after another Spacey accuser, a massage therapist known only as John Doe, died prior to his scheduled trial was able to take place.
Throughout his life, Behn wrote several novels and plays. His last book, Inferno, published in 2018, provided a further glimpse into the depths of his mental health struggles.
"I'm necessary. I've always been too intense. Full of words and too much power. Without balance. Either or. Taus and ongoing. Leaf and shameless. I could not stay again. I let it burn," the writer penned in one excerpt.
Reviewers in Norway said the book "oozed with despair and sadness".
While promoting the book, he gave an interview to VG, which described him as "terrified and divorced, with a cyst in his ear and devouring anxiety".
"I am yesterday's news, even though the world has not yet been told," he told the newspaper.
"I'm a clown, at worst. At best, I am a publicist and a public actor. For many, I'm a fool," said Behn.
WHO IS PRINCESS MARTHA?
Behn's wife of 15 years, Princess Martha Louise, 48, is the daughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja, and fourth in line to the throne.
Following her divorce from Behn in 2017, the royal found love with Shaman Durek, 44, a self-described 'spiritual guide, healer and global ambassador of love' who counts Gwyneth Paltrow among his clients.
On her Instagram page, Princess Martha is pictured with Paltrow in the Hamptons, writing that meeting her was a "gift".
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Meeting amazing people that make us grow is such a gift of life, don’t you think? Meeting @gwynethpaltrow was such a gift. Your wisdom, strength, your clear vision and soft personality with a great sense of humor is so inspiring. Thank you for being who you are and for receiving us all with open arms. So looking forward to our next encounter. 💗🙏 Who inspires you to grow? #newfriends #inspiring @shamandurek
Martha Louise announced her relationship with Durek on Instagram in May. She described him as her "twin flame" and vowed to love him from "this eternity to the next".
She also pre-empted criticism of the relationship, saying she did not choose her partner, who identifies as bisexual, to 'satisfy the norms'.
Durek, a "sixth generation Shaman" claims he can reduce ageing by using his power to 'access the atoms' inside the human body.
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When you meet your twin flame, you know. I have been lucky enough to have met mine. @shamandurek has changed my life, like he does with so many. He has made me realize that unconditional love actually exists here on this planet. He embraces all of me without question or fear. He makes me laugh more than anyone, has the most profound wisdom to share and all the bits in between from the diversity of his being. I feel so happy and blessed that he is my boyfriend. Thank you my love, for including me so generously into your family. I love you from this eternity to the next. And to those of you who feel the need to criticize: Hold your horses. It is not up to you to choose for me or to judge me. I don’t choose my man to satisfy any of you or the norms or boxes you have chosen in your mind for me to be in. I don’t thrive there, nor do I exist in your illusion about me. I choose from love. And that’s it. Shaman Durek is merely a man I love spending my time with and who fulfills me. So thank you for respecting my actions and my choice of partner. All I know at this moment is that we love each other and I am super happy. Have a wonderful, loving Sunday and Mother’s Day(for the USA). 📸 @dhendersonphoto #love #unconditionallove #newlove #boyfriend #inlove
The Princess, who wrote a book about her wedding to Ari Behn called From Heart to Heart with her ex-husband in 2002, has also raised eyebrows over the years with claims she has had contact with angels.
In 2007, BBC News reported she said she realised as a child that she could read people's inner feelings, while her experiences with horses had helped her make contact with angels.
The unusual comments came amid an announcement of her plans to open an alternative therapy centre, which the royal palace said it had no official link to.
The Princess, who trained as a physical therapist, said she had "always been interested in alternative forms of treatment".
Ari Behn's mother was the Princess's physiotherapy tutor, which is how the pair met.
ROYAL FAMILY RESPONDS TO BEHN'S DEATH
Behn's death has left the palace stunned and family and friends grief-stricken as members of the royal family pay tribute to the father-of-three.
Behn's manager announced the tragedy while King Harald - the Princess' dad - paid heartfelt tribute to the writer.
The 82-year-old monarch said: "It is with great sadness that the Queen and I have received the message of Ari Behn's passing.
"Ari has been an important part of our family for many years, and we carry warm, fond memories of him."
A statement from the Crown Prince family added: "For us, Ari was a good friend, a dear family member and a wonderful uncle, with whom we shared many of life's small and big moments.
"It is with great sadness that we have received the message of his passing away."
Geir Hakonsund, Behn's manager, said of his passing: "It is with sadness in our hearts that we, the closest relatives of Ari Behn, announce today that he has taken his life.
"We ask for respect for our privacy in the coming time."