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Socialite arrested for domestic violence against American heiress

John Lamparski/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

Socialite and TV-personality José Castelo Branco was arrested on Tuesday for suspicions of domestic violence against his wife, American millionairess, Betty Grafstein.

The complaint to the Public Prosecutor's Office was lodged by the CUF Cascais Hospital, where the 95-year-old jeweller has been hospitalised since 20 April.

The complaint alleges that Betty Grafstein was admitted to hospital with a fractured femur and injuries to her left arm caused by a fall after being pushed by her husband, according to several health professionals.

Betty Grafstein underwent psychological observation and was reported to be "conscious, orientated, calm and cooperative", with "good memory and cognitively well".

After the complaint, testimonies of violence against the businesswoman emerged, both from former employees and friends. On Monday's Conta-me programme (TVI), Abel Dias, whose work is associated with pink magazines and who presents himself as a former friend of Betty Grafstein, told Manuel Luís Goucha that the American woman is "afraid" of her husband, recalling episodes in which the businessman has been "rude" and "uncaring".

José Castelo Branco, who has been married to Betty Grafstein since 1996, has rejected all the accusations as "ridiculous".

On Wednesday, Betty Grafstein was transferred to another hospital due to her worsening health.

"The latest information we have is that Betty Grafstein has suffered a pulmonary embolism," journalist Conceição Queiroz shared during 'Jornal Nacional'. "And what's all this about? It's due to this fracture in her femoral neck and the fact that she's been inactive for a long time. The pneumonia itself could have been triggered by aspiration, she could have choked, but it could also have been a hospital infection, that's something we've yet to find out."

On the same day, her partner was taken to the Sintra Court, where he is being heard by the investigating judge, Pedro Brito. The instability of the Citius system - which aggregates the computer platforms used in judicial proceedings - delayed the start of the interrogation.

Who are they?

José Alberto Vieira Castelo Branco, 61, was born in Mozambique. He began to make a name for himself in Lisbon's nightlife in the 1980s. By day, he modelled and by night he used to dress in drag and was known as Tatiana Romanov. He became popularly known after he started taking part in reality TV shows.

Betty was born in 1928 in England and adopted by a lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary, grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. At the age of 18, Betty moved to New York with her boyfriend, a playboy who soon left her with a newborn son. At 25, she married 49-year-old Albert Grafstein, a well-known diamond dealer.

Betty Grafstein's marriage lasted until 1991, when Albert Grafstein died, making Betty heir to a diamond empire and a jewellery company in New York, which still exists.

It was in the mid-1990s that Betty Grafstein met José Castelo Branco, then an art dealer, at a party organised by the artist Júlio Quaresma. The two married in 1996 and their relationship continues to this day.

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