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Marlene Knaus

Inside the Life of Marlene Knaus: First wife of Niki Lauda

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  • Post last modified:September 8, 2021
  • Post category:Celebrity Spouse
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Marlene Knaus is famous as the wife of Formula One legend Niki Lauda. Regarded as one of the most supportive celebrity wives in the world, Marlene is one of a kind. She stood by Niki through some of the hardest times of his life.

Given her unconditional devotion to Lauda, Marlene is often lauded by the press. Plus, her charm and beauty are overbearingly enthralling. Thus, people are always eager to know about her life, and especially her life with the legend Niki Lauda.

So, in this article, we will deal with the life of Marlene Knaus. We will discuss her early life, her marriage with Niki Lauda, her career, and many more things. So, without any further delay, let’s zoom right in.

Marlene Knaus Bio: Age and Birthday

Marlene Knaus was born in Venezuela in 1949. She is 72 years old as of now. The date of her exact birthday is under wraps, as she likes to keep such things private.

Knaus has a sister named Renate Knaus who was born in Chile and a brother named Telly Knaus who was born in Spain. Meanwhile, her mother Elena belongs to Spanish ancestry. Her father Robert Knaus is a famous Austrian realist painter born in 1910.

Marlene Knaus
Marlene Knaus.

Her father had married in Spain before moving to Venezuela (where Marlene was born) and lived in Valdivia, Chile for nearly a decade before returning to Europe in 1963. Marlene attended a German school in Valdivia and obtained Austrian citizenship after relocating to Europe.

The details about the family of Knaus are guarded against the press and public gaze. We found out that her family still lives in Ibiza, an island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Marlene had an eye for fashion

The German socialite was keen on fashion since she was an adolescent. With her impeccable fashion sense and ability of artistic expression, she entered the fashion industry. She started as a fashion model based in Austria. Her puffy hair bun tied in a knot, black mole by the eye, and exquisite charm were much revered by her fans.

Her fame increased a thousandfold after her rumored relationship with Formula One racer Niki Lauda. However, later she gave up modeling and worked as an interior designer and photographer.

Marlene Knaus and Niki Lauda: How did they meet?

Marlene and Niki met each other in 1975 at a party in the house of actor Curd Jürgens in Salzburg. Niki saw Marlene at the party for the first and he was absolutely crushing on her beauty and vivaciousness. However, then Marlene was the girlfriend of a host of the party, Curd Jürgens.

The day ended without much interaction between the couple, but impressions were set in both of their minds.

The very next day of the party, Marlene met with Niki in the garden of Friesacher Hotel. Marlene already knew he was a racing driver, so she asked him as they were leaving:

And what does a racing driver do in his spare time?

This clearly shows, Marlene was already interested in Niki. To the above statement, Niki replied: “It all depends. Nothing much. Why?”. To which Marlene said: “Oh! I was just curious.”

A few days later, Niki contacted Marlene and they went on a drive from Salzburg to Freilassing.

Marlene skipped from the hospital window to meet Niki

Marlene lied to Lauda about the discharge date from the hospital when she contracted pneumonia. She was supposed to stay in bed but as everything is fair in love and war, Knaus ran for love. She skipped through the open hospital window and drove up to Gaisberg to some ancient inn.

They were officially in love with each other by then. Marlene flew back to Ibiza to her family and Nicki followed shortly after and met the Knaus family.

The Austrian press got wind of their affair and the Kurier published a spread on Niki Lauda, fiancé of Mariella von Reininghaus, and Curd Jürgens’ girlfriend, Marlene Knaus. The pair broke up with their respective partners before their marriage.

Marlene Knaus and Niki Lauda Marriage

Marlene and Niki married in the spring of March 11, 1976, at the registry office in Vienna-Neustadt. The tie-less groom was scandalized by the registry official on his wedding day. So, Niki borrowed a tie from his best man, Dr. Oertel, and the ceremony went off beautifully.

Marlene Knaus and her late ex-husband Niki Lauda.
Marlene Knaus and her late ex-husband Niki Lauda.

Though their conjugal life was scarred by a tragedy very early on, they had a very blissful relationship later on.

Marlene shares two sons with Niki Lauda

Marlene is mother to two sons of Niki Lauda, Mathias and Lukas Lauda. The elder one, Lukas was born in Salzburg on April 5, 1979, three years after their marriage. Meanwhile, the younger one, Mathias was born on January 30,  1981, in a clinic in Salzburg.

Lukas went to a Spanish-speaking school in Ibiza and Mathias to Spanish-speaking Kindergarten. Both of them are bilingual, fluent in both German and Spanish.

Following the footsteps of his father, Mathias works as a Formula 1 racing driver. On the other hand, Lukas worked as the manager of his brother Mathias. Mathias is active on social media and frequently posts on his Instagram account, whereas Lukas has a private Instagram account.

Marlene divorced Niki Lauda unexpectedly

After about a decade and a half of conjugal bliss, the pair split up in 1991. The divorce was finalized much later in 1996. The reason for divorce was Niki’s extra-marital affair, out of which his illegitimate son Christoph was born. The details about the mother are not revealed.

Despite the aforementioned reasons, Marlene maintained an amicable relationship with Niki. The family was on good terms with each other despite all divorces and affairs. Christoph was later accepted by the family, and Niki even included him in his will.

After the divorce, her ex-spouse married the air hostess of his airline, Birgit Wetzinger. The couple started dating in 2004 and married each other after 4 years. Niki and Birgit also gave birth to twin children, a son Max and a daughter Mia in 2009.

Marlene Knaus today

After her divorce from Niki, Marlene Knaus has led a very reclusive, private life. She chose to remain away from the scrutiny of the media and the press. Reportedly, she is living in Ibiza, near to her family these days. Her brother Telly Knaus works as a painter and her sister, Renate also lives close by.

Marlene in a hotel in Santa Eulalia Del Río, Islas Baleares, Spain in 2020.
Marlene in a hotel in Santa Eulalia Del Río, Islas Baleares, Spain in 2020.

The net worth of Marlene Knaus

Marlene Knaus is a very rich lady. Her former husband left aside a considerable sum of money for her in his will of massive fortune of $445 million. Aside from that, her own career in interior design pays a lot for her luxurious life in Ibiza.