The ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine has been at the forefront of the news for several weeks now. As countries continue to seize Russian oligarch assets, there is one particular yacht that swerved into celebrity culture — a moment from Jennifer Lopez’s summer of love with Ben Affleck.
In July 2021, the couple took a Mediterranean vacation together on The Valerie, a $140 million, 85-meter superyacht, that was reportedly owned by Sergei Chemezov, “a former KGB officer who heads state conglomerate Rostec,” according to Reuters. That yacht was seized by Spain on Monday in the harbor in Barcelona, making this a fascinating intersection of pop culture and international affairs that we didn’t expect.
Bennifer’s holiday was filled with luxury and paparazzi as the photographers chased them all over the high seas in hopes of capturing their latest PDA moment. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Lopez’s former fiancé Alex Rodriguez was also sailing on the same itinerary because he had originally planned the vacation with his ex. It was a tabloid fever dream. Now, it seems like a bit of a nightmare because the couple reportedly plunked down $1,119,000 for their luxury cruise — and it was Chemezov who profited off that. (But we also understand that Lopez and Affleck certainly couldn’t have predicted the war.)
The Western sanctions lodged against Russia are a good wakeup call to Hollywood to make sure they investigate who owns the home, yacht or private jet that they are renting. In a time of conflict, it’s important to know that their hard-earned money is being funneled to the right people because this is news that Bennifer would probably rather avoid.
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