Why was the Viennese waltz king also considered a “womanizer”? How many times was he married and who were his wives? How many children resulted from the marriages?
Johann Strauss son, the Viennese waltz king, was constantly in love, because the world of women was at his feet. The ladies were enchanted by his melodies, looks and charm.
His first wife was Henriette Treffz-Chalupetzky, whom he met at the home of the banker Moritz Ritter von Todesco. Henriette was the banker’s mistress, which is why she was also called “Baroness Todesco”.
Before her marriage to Johann Strauss, she already had seven illegitimate children, with Johann she had no more. She was seven years older than Johann and, at her wedding on August 27, 1862 , in St. Stephen’s Church in Vienna , was already 44 years old.
The couple lived at Praterstraße 54, where the Danube Waltz was composed and where today there is a museum worth seeing. Jetty, as Henriette was known for short, was a motherly wife and perfect manager, taking everyday worries off her husband’s hands.
The marriage ended after 16 years when Jetty succumbed to a stroke on April 8, 1878, leaving Johann a widower. Her great merit was to have led her husband from a waltz king to an operetta composer .
His grief did not last too long, because just 50 days later Johann was married a second time. The lucky girl was 25 years younger and her name was Ernestine Henriette Angelica Dittrich, called “Lili”.
The two had known each other for some time without his first wife knowing about the “relationship.” Lili contacted Johann to get an engagement at the Theater an der Wien, but instead they got married . This took place on May 28, 1878 in the Karlskirche in Vienna .
The couple moved into the newly built palace at Igelgasse 4, now Johann-Strauß-Gasse in the 4th district. The marriage was not considered happy from the beginning, because there was little understanding and constant quarrels. This time the woman, that is Lili, should have a relationship on the side. After four years together, a line was drawn on December 9, 1882, and the marriage was divorced by mutual consent.
The third wife – Adele Deutsch, widowed Strauß – already bore Johann’s last name, although she was not even married to him. Her late husband was the banker’s son Anton Strauß, a coincidental name match. Johann wanted to marry Adele, but could not do so under Catholic law because he was already divorced.
The problem was solved in such a way that Johann became a Saxon citizen and converted to the Protestant faith . On August 15, 1887 , the two were married in the Ducal Court Church in Coburg. Johann was 62 and his bride half that age, so 31 years young.
Adele managed her husband’s estate admirably until after his death in 1899. She left behind the “Lex Johann Strauss”, an extension of the copyright of his music to 32 years . Despite three marriages, Johann left no children.
Time Travel Tip:
The Strauss apartment at Praterstrasse 54 can be visited and is well worth a visit. It belongs to the Vienna Museums and every 1st Sunday of the month is even free admission.