Before becoming a star on The Real Housewives of New York City, Tinsley Mortimer was one of Manhattan’s elite socialites, and married to an heir of the Standard Oil fortune, Robert Livingston “Topper” Mortimer. His great-grandfather, Henry Morgan Tilford, was a president of Standard Oil of California. His father John Jay, who passed away in 2013, was the first chief justice of the United States.
Topper’s mother, Senga Mortimer, is a longtime editor at House Beautiful, while his sister Minnie works as a fashion designer. He is an uncle to her two children with husband, Oscar winning filmmaker Stephen Gaghan.
When Topper first met Tinsley, they were teenagers attending boarding school in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. She was a senior while he was a junior, and when they turned 18, Topper and Tinsley ran off to get married by a justice of the peace in Bradenton, Florida. However, once Topper’s father found out, he promptly sent his son to the Dominican Republic to get it annulled. However, their young love did not abate.
Tinsley attended college at University of North Carolina while Topper finished up school in Lawrenceville. But when Topper chose to attend New York University, she transferred to Columbia University. After graduation, Topper went to work at Guggenheim Partners, a wealth management firm in New York City, while Tinsley bounced from interning at Vogue, pursuing a masters in decorative arts at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, and working at Harrison & Shriftman as a publicist. The couple officially married in May 2002 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia, the bride’s hometown.
After their marriage, they were New York City’s “It” couple. As much as Tinsley lived and breathed for the socialite scene, Topper shied away from it. She become the most recognizable face in Manhattan, a staple at every charity ball, a front row mainstay during New York’s Fashion Week, and continuously ranked #1 on the popular gossip site, socialiterank.com.
While discussing the obsessive popularity of the New York socialite scene with reporter Eric Konigsberg, Topper told the New York Times that while he’s “extremely proud” of his wife’s business ventures, that “it’s not necessarily the type of goal that anybody should strive for, going out every night for the sake of self-promotion and getting their pictures taken. And I mean, these are girls who went to good colleges. You would think they’d have something better to do… I don’t know that the route to how she got there is what I’d tell my 5-year-old girl to follow if I had one.”
Tinsley said in response to his comment, “Sometimes he forgets, when he’s on this subject, like: ‘I know one of them. That’s my wife.’ Topper has this life in New York because he grew up here, so he doesn’t need the social thing. To him, it seems frivolous. His city changed on him. He hates that.”
As tensions built between the longtime couple, the dissolution of the marriage was well-chronicled by New York Magazine.
Topper reportedly tried to make the relationship work while Tinsley moved on with Prince Casimir “Cassie” Wittgenstein-Sayn, a 32-year-old German aristocrat whose family reportedly has a castle in the Rhine Valley. He e-mailed friends after Tinsley last-minute skipped out on attending his best friend Ware Syke’s wedding writing, “I know I have involved you guys in our problems and that was wrong. Tinsley is at fault of course but Casi [sic] never gave her a chance to breathe even when I asked him to give us space. He was manipulative and overbearing. I love my wife and we are going to do what we can to salvage this marriage.”
Tinsley, on the other hand, was singing a different tune. She made a a public statement in regards to her and Prince Casimir saying, “We’re not hiding. I have filed for divorce. I am allowed to date other people,” she said.
Tinsley’s mother, Dale Mercer, was Team Topper. She said, “Every mother wants her daughter to marry a man who she knows will love her forever and… who will be an amazing father to their children. This is Topper so, of course, as a mother who adores and wants the best happiness for her daughter, I am crushed by what has happened. I have not given up hope.”
Tinsley has since dated and broken up with Alexander “Nico” Fanjul, the relationship which led to her arrest for trespassing in Palm Beach, Florida, and most recently, Coupon Cabin CEO Scott Kluth, while Topper is now married to shoe designer Tabitha Simmons.
The couple started dating in 2014, got engaged in August 2018, and tied the knot on June 9 at the Church of Resurrection in New York City. The after-party was held at Dorrian’s on the Upper East Side. Celebrity guests included Liv Tyler, Tory Burch, Lily Eldridge, Sienna Miller, Guy Oseary and Brooke Shields.
On January 30, Topper and Tabitha welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Violet Elizabeth Moritmer. Tabitha also has two sons from a previous relationship, Dylan, 12, and Elliot, 13. Topper currently works at Focus Point Private Capital Group. He has an instagram account, but it’s set to private.