Billionaire impresario sues over tale of sex and drugs and the Cirque du Soleil

Record-breaking show's creator accused of hosting Bacchanalian orgies

He created one of the most breath-taking and lucrative franchises in show-business. But the once-penniless street performer behind Cirque du Soleil is involved in an intriguing legal spat over the colourful acrobatic manoeuvres that allegedly take place in his bedroom.

Guy Laliberté, the billionaire impresario whose troupe will today celebrate its 25th birthday, has announced plans to sue the publishers of an unauthorised biography which depicts him as a bed-hopping scoundrel with an inexhaustible appetite for sex, drugs, and a rock and roll lifestyle.

The threat, which sparked a circus of the media variety in Mr Laliberté's native Canada, comes after the influential Montreal news magazine Macleans published a revelatory extract from the muck-raking new book, entitled The Fabulous Story of the Creator of the Cirque du Soleil.

It details some of the famously decadent parties that Mr Laliberté financed with the proceeds of his business empire, which currently controls 18 shows in dozens of countries, and supports almost 4,000 employees, including hundreds of the world's most talented dancers and acrobats.

During the parties, global business leaders, politicians, and Hollywood stars were entertained by Cirque du Soleil performers, and provided with millions of dollars of fine food and wine. Author Ian Halperin, who quotes dozens of former guests, details heroic displays of debauchery. "Everything you wanted was available at Guy's parties," said Myra Jones, a Milan-based fashion model who attended several of the events. "Drugs, the best music spun by famous DJs flown in from Europe and the USA, and the wildest sex you could ever imagine."

The book claims that Laliberté's assistants invited busloads of prostitutes from his native Montreal to the parties, which were attended by the likes of Robert DeNiro and Sir Paul McCartney. Mere B-list guests were required to sign a confidentiality agreement before attending.

"It was beyond crazy; it was complete insanity for hours. Everyone was so beautiful and so free," said Angie Everhart, a Playboy model. "If there was a straight person in the house they must have freaked out watching everyone else trip. They would have thought they were the one on drugs."

However the passage in the book which appears to have most upset Mr Laliberté, an eccentric figure who now has a personal fortune estimated at $2.5bn, concerns his ex-girlfriend Rizia Moreira, a Brazilian model who is the mother of three of his five children.

"He'd come home after sleeping with other women and have sex with me," she complained in the book. "If he had told me, I never would have had sex with him."

Mr Laliberté has taken exception to the claims. This week, he wrote to Transit Publishing, which released the book, denying several key allegations made in the book and demanding that it is immediately withdrawn from stores. Macleans has also been issued with a legal letter.

However Mr Halperin yesterday returned fire, with interest. "We intend to fight this vigorously and take this as a gross infringement on freedom of the press," he told the New York Post. "Everything in my book is true and can easily be proven. If he continues to harass me, I will launch a slander suit."

Whatever the eventual outcome, the row comes at an inconvenient time for Mr Laliberté, who is supposed to be focused on training for a forthcoming space flight, for which he has paid a Russian company $35m.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week