Eden Sassoon’s story is a family affair, as she tackles her part-time gig on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills stage.
Eden shared a bit about the wealthy clan right off the bat, and most pointedly spoke about her sister, Catya. Her sister’s life was cut short by addiction, and Catya’s professional past is a haunting link to Kim Richards. Eden’s brother, David’s name will probably not ride the Bravo rollercoaster with his sis, and his own words reveal the reasons. David told his story to the Daily Mail, in 2013.
“If you don’t look good, we don’t look good” — a snappy business motto to most — a dark nod to a troubled childhood, for Vidal Sassoon’s adopted son. According to David, his father’s quest for physical perfection made his childhood miserable, and led to the death of his sister.
David spoke out for the first time about his father — who died in 2012 — and the celebrity hair giant’s “obsession with perfection.”
“Dad created the ultimate dysfunctional family,” David said. “To be honest, I would have been better off if he had never adopted me. Money and image were all that mattered to him. My Dad had that slogan, ‘If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.’ That carried through to the family. Dad was someone who would dress up to go to the supermarket. He was terrified of being seen not looking perfect. His image was everything.”
Sassoon was married to his second wife, actress Beverly Adams, when the couple adopted David, the product of an affair between a white woman in the-then racially segregated South, and an African-American man. David was given up for adoption, and placed in a foster home. Sassoon and Beverly had three children — Elan, Catya and Eden, when Beverly met David’s foster mother.
“Beverly was carrying twins when she had Eden but there were complications and she lost one. Vidal was always working, building the business,” David explained. “Beverly wanted four kids, two boys and two girls. She was doing night classes at university where she met my foster mum.”
David pointed out that it was unusual back then for celebrities to adopt different ethnicities — and the move proved to be a smart one for Sassoon.
“The next thing I know the whole Sassoon clan turned up at the house. I remember opening the door and saying, ‘Are you my new mummy and daddy?’ David revealed. “At the time it was very unusual for celebrities to adopt other ethnicities. These days everyone is doing it. I’m not saying Dad did it to help his image but it certainly generated good press.”
Three and a half year-old David’s world changed overnight, shifting from a tiny humble house, to his new family’s enormous Beverly Hills mansion. David had everything money could buy — but said that he was miserable in his new home.
“My mother was an alcoholic and Dad was never there. When he was, he was a hard taskmaster,” said David. “I would’ve been better off if he hadn’t adopted me.”
David described his upbringing as a never-ending quest toward perfection — a demand from an image-obsessed, controlling patriarch.
“Everything had to be perfect. We kids had to be perfect. If we angered him he would stop talking to us. That was the pattern of my life,” David revealed. “His was conditional love. He used material wealth to control the family. If you were doing what he wanted, he showed his love in monetary gifts. When you were bad he’d take his money away. It was his way or the highway.”
“My childhood was a misery because I wasn’t perfect enough. I didn’t fit into the image of what a “Sassoon kid” should be.”
David told the outlet that he was close to Catya, and often “partied” with his sister. In fact, David and Catya were at the same party, when she overdosed, leaving David as the one who had to call the family and break the sad news. David claimed that his family’s anger about the tragedy was later aimed at him, and the scrutiny increased.
“Dad didn’t like the way I looked, how I dressed, how I behaved,” David said, explaining that the death “caused a rift.”
“There was Catya and me, the “rebel” kids, and Elan and Eden, the “good” kids.”
David explained that both of his parents stopped talking to him, and his efforts to “do his own thing,” including becoming a history teacher, were deemed unacceptable. David also described being “bullied” into undergoing laparoscopic stomach surgery, after a motorcycle accident resulted in significant weight gain.
“I got very fat. I got up to 25st (350 pounds). Dad said he would disown me if I didn’t have laparoscopic stomach surgery. I said, ‘Fine, disown me,’” David said. “I was scared. It was 2005 and the surgery was new and dangerous. I told him to f*** off. Dad told me, ‘You are the only one in the family who doesn’t look the part.’ Not only was I the adopted one but I stood out because I was trouble, I was overweight. Everything he hated. Eden called me and said, ‘You should do the surgery and stay in Dad’s good graces.’”
David said in the interview that he regretted going through with the surgery to that day. He openly shared about his own struggles with addictions, and said that he even tried to include his father in a therapy session.
“Family drama is a trigger for me,” David says. “Dad came to therapy but when I tried to tell him what he’d done wrong he got angry. You’d say something he didn’t like and he’d attack you, point out your flaws and walk out.”
Vidal Sassoon cut David out of his will two months before his death, but David inherited a generous figure from various trusts, and a payment from a life insurance policy. He admitted that being cut out of the will was his father’s way of “controlling” him, and said that his siblings inherited a much larger sum.
“It’s not like any of us earned that money,” David said of his two siblings. “None of us stirred a vat of shampoo. Elan and Eden were always the “good” kids. They hung on Dad’s coat tails and the Sassoon name means a lot to them. I’ve always been my own man.’
David added that he holds no resentment towards his father, and that the tough-loving Sassoon did “the best he could.” David spoke about his last moments with his dad.
‘Two days before he died we spoke and he said, ‘It’s pretty much done,’” David revealed. “His last words to me were not that he loved me but ‘I forgive you.’ He could never apologize.”
David’s mother, Beverly, said in response to the interview that she loves her son, but that he was “angry and should stop blaming others for his problems.” Beverly admitted that her ex-husband believed in tough love, and that “his attitude was ‘If you don’t do it my way, you’re out of my life.’ He did what he thought was right.” Elan also commented, saying that he also loved David, but that his brother was “showing no respect for Dad’s memory.”
There is no comment recorded from Eden. The reality rookie’s asserted sobriety shift would have presumably occurred around the time of her father’s illness/death. David’s story could possibly reveal much about Bravo’s latest reality player. Eden’s off-kilter reaction to run-of-the-mill criticism, and her tirelessly bizarre perspectives could be the result of navigating a challenging childhood. Her current strategy is proving to be a strange one, as an adult woman trying to thrive in a social media-driven reality world. Buckle your seat belts.