Evelyn Pringle December 2004
Once upon a time, Prince Neil Bush was best-known for his role in the collapse of the Silverado Savings and Loan. But here come to find out, he is actually the romeo of the Bush Royal Family.
I say this because last year his videotaped divorce deposition became public and quite frankly, the revelations in it do not paint a picture of strong moral values. As it turns out, while still married to his wife, Princess Sharon, Neil had what can only be described as random sex with a number of women, contracted a venereal disease, had an affair with his mother’s married secretary, and was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock.
I guess the lectures delivered by Neil's "I'm not an obnoxious drunk anymore" brother, George, missed the mark. So much for abstinence and safe sex in the First Royal Family.
Although Neil also testified about several highly questionable business deals in which he received huge amounts of money for little (if any) effort, they were completely overshadowed by the tales of his sexual liaisons with the gals in Thailand and Hong Kong.
I will never forget what W said back when the Clinton pardon scandal hit the headlines with charges that brother-in-law Hugh Rodham had accepted $400,000 to lobby for clemency for two felons. When reporters asked W what advice he would give to his own family members, he said: "My guidance to them is, 'Behave yourself.' And they will."
Oh is that right? ha.ha.ha.ha.ha. The absurdity of that statement is almost as funny as the jokes made about their dad's "read my lips" comment.
A Match Made In Heaven
Prince Neil met Sharon during the 1980 presidential campaign. After a brief courtship, they married, moved to Colorado, had 3 children and remained happily married (or at least Sharon did) for 23 years.
The whole divorce saga began in May, 2002, when Neil informed Sharon that he wanted a divorce in an e-mail. The actual email makes for one hell of a "Dear John" letter. The following is in part, what he had to say to Sharon:
"Your comments at our pool-side dinner with the kids that you and I should race to see who could make a million dollars faster, your belief expressed in different ways that I have not made enough money, your belief that it was easy to make money, and that Jamal Daniel's plotting or Dad's influence will be the magic answer to our financial woes all cause me consternation and reflect the bitterness and anger that has come from the loneliness you described Friday," Neil wrote.
"It is very clear that we are failing to meet each other's core needs. We're almost out of money and I've lost my patience for being compared to my brothers, for being put down for my inability to make money, and tired of not being loved. I'm sure you have felt abandoned and a deep sense of loneliness," he wrote.
Of course, Neil forgot to mention a few things in the email. Like he didn't tell Sharon about his Asian sex romps or that he was already having an affair with Maria Anderson, wife of Robert Andrews, a woman Sharon once regarded as a friend, but who she would later call "Neil's Mexican whore."
In fact, he forgot to mention quite a few things. A review of exhibits from Maria's divorce deposition, reveals that at the same time that Neil penning the Dear John email to Sharon, he was also writing love letters to Maria, evidently looking to get his “core needs“ met with her. In one email he tells Maria, "My heart is breaking with solitude. I can't wait to be free to dedicate all of my passion to love you. I hurt to have you in my arms, to make love with you and be a part of your life.” Prince Neil almost puts Prince Charles to shame.
Neil said he met Maria in 2001 while she was working in his mother’s office. He claims the affair did not begin until January 2002, when they ended up together at a fundraiser for brother Jeb. A few weeks later Neil went to the Maria's house looking to raise money for his new company and I guess it was Andrew’s unlucky day. For when Neil left that day, he not only walked out with $100,000 of Andrew’s money, he also bagged his wife, Maria.
A few weeks later, Maria and Neil took a pre-divorce Honeymoon to Mexico and the rest is history. Neil soon fired off his parting email to Sharon and when he returned to the US from Dubai, he set up a bachelor pad in Houston.
And get this, court records show that Neil and Maria both filed for divorce on the same day, August 26, 2002. What a sentimental couple.
In a July, 2002 interview on KHOU TV in Texas, Sharon said that she had never expected a divorce, "It was totally out of the blue,” she said.
However, Neil told a different tale. Apparently unbeknownst to Sharon, the marriage had been on the rocks for years. In his 270 page deposition, Neil testified that there was "no affection" and "very little sexual activity over the past 10 or 12 years." He told Sharon‘s attorney, "Our marriage has been broken. It's loveless. And there is nothing left to it.”
When she got the email, Sharon says she was taken off guard because 2 days earlier, Neil had given her a ring and said he loved her. When she reached out to her in-laws she claims, "I just really basically was turned off, turned away," Sharon said.
She talked about a conversation between her and Queen Barbara Bush, "I said I think Neil is having a mid-life crisis. You know, I'm worried about his business and maybe stress was leading to this e-mail. And she basically said, you talk to your mother and Neilsy will talk to me. And Neilsy will never abandon his children. And that was it,” according to ABC News on Oct 10, 2004.
As late as April 28, 2003, the day the divorce became finalize, Sharon was telling the judge that she wasn't sure she wanted the divorce. "I believe in working through a marriage," she testified, "and I don't believe in divorce with three children." The judge showed no sympathy and granted the divorce anyways.
All Out War
After Sharon learned of Neil’s affair with Maria, she went on a rampage. She made no secret of the fact that she did not want a divorce, and launched an all out attack on the 2 love-birds. She hired top PR man Lou Colasuonno, a former editor of both the New York Post and the New York Daily News.
Colasuonno's first move was to announce that Sharon was looking for a publisher for a book she planned to write. "This is a woman who has had some wonderful times with the Bushes," Colasuonno told the New York Observer. "But she has seen the dark side, too. And she intends to provide a view of the family that everyone will want to read."
Next he set up a lunch date for his client to meet with the famous author, Kitty Kelley, who was already working on a book about the Bush family. Then he hinted that Sharon might be feeding Kelley Bush family secrets.
Sharon and Kelley enjoyed a 4 hour lunch and Kelley couldn't say enough about how badly poor Sharon was being treated. "I learned a great deal about the Bush family from Sharon," Kelley told The Washington Post. "She told me he's only offering $1,000 a month in support -- take it or leave it. . . . She said that when she told Neil she needs more to live on, Neil Bush said, 'Just get remarried.' Sharon was sobbing as she told me, 'Kitty, I just won't sell my body!' "
PR guy Colasuonno claims that Kelley's disclosure to the Post, prompted the Prince to more than double his offer of settlement to about $30,000 a year. In her interview with ABC on Oct 10, 2004, Sharon said her final divorce settlement allowed for 4 years of alimony at $2,500 a month, and that she may soon have to sell the family home in Houston.
When it was released this year, Kelley’s book contained quotes attributed to Sharon that included the allegation that W snorted cocaine with his brother at Camp David during the first Bush presidency. Sharon quickly denied making that allegation but her PR guy Colasuonno, and 2 others who were at the lunch, backed Kelley’s version of the conversations.
Sharon also told Kelly that at one point, she had even received an implied death threat from Neil. According to Sharon, he left a message on her answering machine telling her that if she didn't shut her mouth, she would find herself "in a dark alley."
So here we have the brother of the current president and the son of an ex-president threatening his soon to be ex-wife with death if she doesn't keep quiet about the family secrets. Are we talking about the Royal First Family here? Or the Mafia?
Kelley and Sharon were both interviewed by Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show on Sept 13 and 14, 2004, and both ladies stuck to their story, as far as what was said at their 4 hour lunch.
The April 22, 2003 Washington Post, reported that Sharon also met with another author, Julie McCarron, in Houston on April 14, 2003, to explore writing a memoir of her life in the Bush family.
McCarron wrote a memo about their day long session together to Michael Viner, who had agreed to a $200,000-plus book deal to publish Sharon's book "First Family." According to McCarron, they ran into Neil's mistress Maria that day at a restaurant called Grotto. "This was very upsetting to Sharon," McCarron wrote in the memo. In the end, Viner withdrew from the book deal, according to the Post.
McCarron memo said that she met Sharon at the Bush family home in Houston. "She was very teary as we toured her house and looked at the hundreds of framed family photos on the wall," McCarron wrote. "She swore that she had been an excellent wife and mother for more than twenty years. . . . She was very upset that the woman her husband was having an affair with had been on Barbara Bush's staff -- how could she not have known?"
According to McCarron, Sharon "stated that the only thing the Bush family cares about is their money and their public image," McCarron continued. "She was devastated over the end of her marriage and the emotional state of her children. As far as writing a book went, she hadn't thought too much about specifics. She did not want to be perceived as a woman scorned. . . . She wanted to write the story of . . . how a 'perfect' marriage can explode after 22 years . . . how she bought into the image of the perfect family, but couldn't cope when everyone in that family turned against her. The Bush family preached family values while she practiced them," wrote McCarron, as reported in the Post.
"They were my family for almost a quarter-century," Sharon said of the Bushes. "I believed in families, and I believed in the family values. And I thought they did, too. So, I thought I would get help from them," according to ABC News.
I guess poor Sharon thought wrong.
What? No Pillow Talk?
During the deposition, when asked by his wife's attorney whether he'd had affairs during his marriage, Neil disclosed a string of sexcapades that could almost put Bill Clinton to shame. And they were all by chance.
During his business trips to Hong Kong and Thailand, Neil said that he would be sitting in his hotel room, just minding his own business, when all of a sudden there would be a knock at the door and a woman would be standing there wanting to have sex with him. He testified that he had no idea who they were or why they showed up.
Neil told his wife's attorney, "I had sexual intercourse with perhaps three or four, I don't remember the exact number, women, at different times. In Thailand once, I have a pretty clear recollection that there was one time in Thailand and in Hong Kong."
I wonder why he has "a pretty clear recollection" of certain encounters. Is it because they were such memorable events or is it because he caught a venereal disease during one of those particular trists?
Attorney Brown asked Neil about this, "Is that where you caught the venereal diseases?" and Neil said, "No."
Brown asked, "Where did you catch those?" And Neil replied, "Diseases plural? I didn't catch..."
Brown apologized, I guess for being insensitive and said: "Well, I'm sorry. How ... how many venereal diseases do you suffer from?"
"I've had one venereal disease," Neil replied.
To which Brown asked, "Which was?"
"Herpes," Neil said.
Had is past tense. Somebody better inform Neil that once you have Herpes, it's a life-long affliction.
A little later, Sharon’s attorney tried to get Neil to explain more about who these women were. "Were they prostitutes?" he asked.
"I don't -- I don't know," Neil replied.
Brown asked, "Did you pay them for that sex?"
"No, I did not," Neil said.
Brown then asked did you, "Pick them up in a sushi house?"
"No," Neil said. "My recollection is, where I can recall, they came to my room."
You can tell that Brown is having a good time at Neil's expense by the way he ridicules him. "Do you know the name of that hotel? I may go to Thailand sometime," Brown said.
I think it's fairly obviously that some of Neil’s foreign business deals came with perks that he was more than happy to take advantage of.
When asked how he knew what to do when a woman came to the door, Neil replied, "Whatever happened, happened."
That snide comment could lead the mind to any number of visions. If need be, Prince Neil could probably make a few extra bucks by publishing his deposition and marketing it as a soft porn novel.
Sharon's attorney was amazed at Neil's Asian romps. "You have to admit that it's a pretty remarkable thing for a man just to go to a hotel room door and open it and have a woman standing there and have sex with her," he said.
"It was very unusual," Neil replied.
That right there was lie under oath in a civil deposition. Also known as perjury during the Clinton years. How can Neil claim the events were unusual, when by his own admission, they happened at least 3 or 4 times? I say arrest the Prince for lying under oath, and if by any chance he holds a license to practice anything, revoke it.
For those wondering how Sharon felt sitting there listening to the details of Neil's sexcapades, she said, "I was totally devastated, and so were our children upon learning this," reported the New York Post’s PAGE SIX. "I trusted him while he was on all those foreign trips and kept the home fires burning while raising three great children . . . His behavior has been appalling. Where are the family values?"
That's a very good question. Where's the moral outrage from the Bush family over Neil’s behavior?
In fairness to Neil, the Asian trips were not all play and no work. It's just that the sex stories overshadow the curious financial deals that were discussed in the same deposition.
So if these women were not perks from foreign investors seeking to gain influence through the President's brother, who were they? Wasn't there any pillow talk whatsoever?
What does Neil expect us to believe? That 3 or 4 different women spotted him in a hotel lobby and found him so irresistible that they slipped a bellhop $50 to get his room number? For anyone even considering this scenario, go take a good look at Neil and decide whether anyone would willingly pay one dime for a romp in the sack with him.
In July 2002, Sharon appeared for a live interview on KHOU-TV News. By that time, the TV station had obtained a copy of Neil’s videotaped deposition and played excerpts from the deposition that contained his own accounts of the Asian sexcapades.
After that, an all-out publicity war began. Neil's Attorney, John Spalding, called reporters with a story that Sharon had yanked hair out of Neil's head so she could make a voodoo doll and put a curse on him.
"It was bizarre," Spalding said, "She literally pulled his hair and yanked it out of his head. He told me about it."
Sharon admitted that she took some of Neil’s hair, but said it came from his barber's floor and it was not for a voodoo doll. She told the Houston Chronicle that because Neil was acting so erratic, she wanted to test the hair for drug use. The tests were inconclusive, she said.
Three-Some Gangs Up On Princess Sharon
When Sharon found out about Neil and Maria's affair, she began claiming that Neil and Maria had been sleeping together for years and that Neil was the father of Maria's 2-year-old son.
Next thing you know, Maria’s husband, Robert, who just happened to also be a business associate of Neil's, claimed that Sharon defamed his son by saying the boy was fathered by Neil and filed a defamation lawsuit against her.
This set off a sandstorm of accusations and demands from all sides. A Texas judge granted Sharon’s demand for DNA samples from Andrews and his son, and even though Neil had already given one DNA sample, Sharon’s attorney got the judge to make him give another. "We require he be forced to give a sample under court supervision," Attorney, David Berg, told UPI on Nov 26, 2003.
"He voluntarily did it before we got to court but not under court supervision," Berg said. "It was a good first step, but we want it under court supervised conditions."
The Houston Chronicle reported the story that, "Neil provided a tissue sample Friday that will be used to determine whether he fathered a child by his girlfriend while she was still married to another man. He hopes the results will settle a paternity question that is at the core of an $850,000 defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife," according to a statement issued by Neil's attorney, John Spalding.
The suit alleged that Sharon had spread the rumor to news outlets, friends and "fast food restaurant employees."
The amount that Andrews demanded from Sharon in damages was significant for 2 reasons. First of all, as part of the divorce settlement, Sharon was allowed to buy the family home from Neil for $850,000. On the exact same day that she closed on the house, Andrews filed the lawsuit and guess how much he asked for? $850,000.
The second reason the demand was significant was that Andrews apparently decided to team up with the guy who stole his wife and help Neil and Maria kill 2 birds with one stone. To stop Sharon from writing a book, Andrews asked that he be awarded all royalties that she might earn from writing any book about the case, according to UPI.
Sharon's attorney was quick to call foul. "We consider it (the suit) vindictive and an attempt to shut her up," Berg said.
"You'd have to be blind not to understand the message when they sued her on the same day that she closed on the house for the same amount of money, an identical amount,” he claimed. "They are sending a message ... It sounds like Andrews is a stalking horse for Bush."
Then Andrew's attorney, Dale Jefferson, thought he'd drive the lets-humiliate-Sharon-knife a little deeper, and went public with a "put-up-or-shut-up" settlement offer:
"We'll put up $850,000 and Sharon Bush can put up $850,000," Jefferson said. "And if she's right and Neil Bush is the father of that child, she gets Mr. Andrews's $850,000, and if we're right, we get her $850,000."
Today, Sharon is not only divorced from Neil, she told 20/20, but completely cut out of the larger Bush clan, what she calls the Bush corporation. She say it is a tight-knit family that sticks together financially, socially, and of course, politically. "Well, you know, we all work together to support George and get him elected. And my father-in-law, to get him elected. It's a family affair. You work hard," Sharon recalled.
All I can say is that I think the Princess deserved a much better retirement package for 23 years of service in the Bush Corporation.
As for the happy couple, on March 6, 2004, Neil and Maria tied the knot. The wedding took place in Houston with most of the Bush clan there to celebrate. Described as a Dom Perignon affair, the wedding was attended by family patriarch and former President George H.W. Bush, as well as prominent guests from the Middle East and China, according to ABC New on Oct 10, 2004.
Jeb, George, and Laura apparently had other plans because they were no shows.
As always with the Bush family, and especially when folks from foreign countries attend a Bush Bash, the Prince and his new Princess were showered with presents. "There were also very lavish gifts," said Mimi Swartz, of Texas Monthly. "I think the couple got matching Bulgari watches, I think someone else gave them an SUV."
Meanwhile, Neil and his new wife are building a multi-million dollar house next door to his parents, reports ABC, where I assume they plan to live happily ever after, or at least until Neil travels to Asia again.
The moral of this story is I guess it's better if half of a couple lives happily ever after than no one at all.