Paulina Porizkova, Ric Ocasek’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts

Paulina Porizkova

Paulina Porizkova was married to Ric Ocasek for 28 years at the time of his death. They separated in 2017. Photo credit: Getty, Paulina Porizkova Instagram.

Paulina Porizkova, who is Ric Ocasek’s estranged wife and a famed Czech-born supermodel with a dramatic childhood, noticed the late singer had passed away in his Manhattan apartment after she touched his cheek.

That anecdote is detailed in a moving post that Porizkova posted on her Instagram page in the wake of Ocasek’s death.

Ocasek, who died on September 15, 2019, was the frontman for iconic rock band The Cars. Porizkova is a 54-year-old model, actress, television personality, and author. She was Ocasek’s third and final wife; Ocasek was married to his second wife, Suzanne Otcasek, when he met Porizkova.

Porizkova and Ocasek were together for 28 years before they announced their separation in 2018. But they never legally divorced prior to his death. Ocasek and Porizkova were married in a private ceremony on the island of St. Bart’s in 1989. They separated in 2017, then confirmed that separation a year later.

On September 16, 2019, a day after the news of her husband’s death broke, Porizkova took to Instagram to thank everyone for their thoughtful tributes and messages. She wrote simply, “Thank you.” She later posted a more detailed message, describing how she realized Ocasek had passed away when she touched his face.

“Ric was at home recuperating very well after surgery. Our two sons, Jonathan and Oliver, and I were making sure he was comfortable, ordering food and watching TV together,” Paulina Porizkova posted on Instagram in a message signed “from the Ocasek family.”

“I found him still asleep when bringing him his Sunday morning coffee. I touched his cheek to rouse him. It was then I realized that during the night he had peacefully passed on. We appreciate the great outpouring of love. We, his family and friends, are completely and utterly devastated by his untimely and unexpected death and would appreciate the privacy to mourn in private.”

Ocasek died of heart disease with emphysema as a contributing factor, according to TMZ. In medical terms, he died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Here’s what you need to know about Paulina Porzikova, Ric Ocasek’s wife:

1. Porizkova Was the First Person From Central Europe to Grace the Cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Paulina Porizkova was born in what was then Czechoslovakia, and holds U.S. and Swedish citizenship. According to The Huffington Post, Porizkova was 18 years old when she graced the cover of the famous Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She was the first Central European woman to gain that honor.

Porizkova has had a long and illustrious career as a model, one that continues into present day. She’s participated in modeling campaigns for brands such as Calvin Klein, Estee Lauder, Ann Taylor, Barney’s New York, Oscar de la Renta and more.

Porizkova is still modeling; in 2018, she participated in the Sport Illustrated female empowerment campaign in which she appeared nude, with body paint spelling “Truth.” According to The New York Post, Porizkova was the oldest “core girl” to be cast for a main spread in Sports Illustrated, at 54 years old.

She was literally spotted on the streets of Sweden by a modeling scout, Huffington Post reported.

2. Porizkova Was Separated From Her Parents as a Child When They Fled the Communists to Sweden

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In a video interview with Al-Jazeera in 2010, Porizkova described how her parents fled then Czechoslovakia because it was behind the Iron Curtain. They left Porizkova with her grandmother, hoping to bring her to Sweden. It was a “long and politically tough” battle and was even featured in the Swedish press, Al-Jazeera reported. She was only 3 years old when her parents left because the Soviet Union had “invaded” then Czechoslovakia.

“They (her parents) got to Sweden, and the Russians had come in, and they had closed off the borders,” she said, adding that her mother and father couldn’t come back in, and she couldn’t leave. They were young and photogenic, she said, so they “discovered the power of the press.” They held a hunger strike in Stockholm to get her out of then Czechoslovakia. “This carried on for quite a few years,” Porizkova said to Al-Jazeera.

Eventually, authorities said she would be adopted into a Communist family if they didn’t come back to get her. In the video interview, Porizkova said the press paid for her mother to go back to get her, complete with a wig and false passport. The mother was caught for speeding, though, and jailed. This resulted in more Swedish press, though, so her mother – who was pregnant with her brother – was released. “The Swedes didn’t give up on us,” Porizkova said. She was then allowed, due to the media pressure, to leave the country and join her parents in Sweden.

Porizkova described her mother as being like “Marilyn Monroe, this cool stranger” because she thought of her grandmother as a mother figure. When she went to Sweden, she didn’t even speak the language and faced bullying at school. Her parents divorced soon after. Her mother had nervous breakdowns and “took it out on me,” Porizkova told Al-Jazeera, describing how she had to take care of her small brother while her mother worked. She had to steal food so they could eat, and her mother ultimately was married three times.

“When I was growing up, I was seen as ugly. I was called the ugly kid in school,” she said in the candid interview, adding that she couldn’t get a date. She studied history and played classical piano instead and thought she’d become a professor. However, she was spotted by a talent scout and ended up with a famed modeling career, going to Paris at age 15.

According to IMDB, Paulina’s mother is named Anna Porizkova and was a midwife in Sweden and New York; her father, Jiri Porizka, remarried and lives in Czech Republic.

Paulina recently posted photos on Instagram when her mom got married.

“Getting my mother ready for her wedding. What an incredible time it has been on the Amalfi coast. Party after party, getting to know my new, extended and amazing family, gaining a papa and a bunch of siblings and cousins all in one go. Here is to love, mom and Papa Joe!❤️” she wrote.

She also wrote: “Love rules the day. Congratulations Mom and Papa Joe! At 73 and 72, you are both an inspiration. Two years in Uganda in the peace Corps: Papa Joe opening a cancer clinic and Mom teaching midwifery at the University, and then, getting married at the Amalfi coast in the most romantic wedding.”

3. Porizkova & Ocasek Had 2 Children Together, Oliver & Jonathan Raven Otcasek

Porizkova and Ocasek met in 1989, when she appeared on a music video for the Cars song, Drive. Over the course of their marriage (which spanned just under three decades), the pair had two children together. Including his sons from previous relationships, Ocasek leaves behind six children.

Ocasek’s children’s names are Oliver Orion Otcasek, Jonathan Raven Otcasek, Christopher Otcasek, Adam Otcasek, Eron Otcasek, and Derek Otcasek. Their last names are “Otcasek” because that’s the last name Ocasek was born with. You can read more about Ocasek’s children here.

Porizkova said once of her husband, “Well, I guess I have a different kind of taste. I don’t go for pretty boys — they don’t age well. Have you noticed this? But the reason I may take George Clooney is not for his looks, but because he’s really smart and funny. I will close my eyes if I have to. … My husband is the sexiest man in the world, 27 years later!”


Ocasek and Porizkova announced their separation in May 2018, after 28 years of marriage. In an Instagram post, Porizkova revealed that she and her estranged husband had actually been separated for a year by that point. She wrote in part, “As a bicycle, my husband and I no longer pedal in unison. So we’re ditching the bicycle.”

Porizkova went on to say that she and Ocasek had “peacefully separated,” and that her family was still “happy,” but that “we are just no longer a couple.”

4. Porizkova Was a Judge for 2 Seasons of America’s Next Top Model

In addition to her acting and modeling work, Porizkova also appeared on the popular modeling reality show America’s Next Top Model for two seasons. She replaced model Twiggy on the judges’ panel.

Porizkova has frequently spoken out about her experiences within the modeling industry, both good and bad. Earlier this month, she posted an Instagram talking about how difficult it was for her in the earlier parts of her career to deal with rejection. She wrote,

…the ones that refused me based on my looks, well, those are the hard ones to forget – because I could’t do anything about the way I looked. And that’s what modeling was about in a nutshell. When you got rejected, it was because of the way you looked. As a 54 year old woman, of course I can look at it and smile. There is more to me than looks, even if you don’t know that. And, I’m not here to please everyone. And I’m delighted that you think your wife or lover is way more beautiful than me. But as a teen, that stuff hurts. And that is also why modeling, as amazing as it can be, can be equally damaging to a young soul.


5. Porizkova Wrote a Children’s Book Called The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach

Porizkova is a published author. She co-authored The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach, a children’s book. The book was published in 1992 and is available for purchase on Amazon. 

The summary for the book, which Porizkova co-authored with Joanne Russell, reads, “When some older boys persuade Ralphie the Roach to venture beyond the boundaries of Roachtown to retrieve some jellybeans, Ralphie rises to the occasion and begins his perilous mission.”

Porizkova has spoken about her love of writing on Instagram in the past. She wrote in August of her trip to New Orleans,

It was always my dream to come to New Orleans to write. Yes, I’ve read most -if not all – writers who have worked here, and in some way, New Orleans had the same mystique to me as Paris had to artists in the 1920’s . If only I could sit in a lush courtyard with the burbling of a fountain and endless cups of chicory coffee – I’d finish that memoir. Or that novel that’s been brewing in my brain for years. Or even that children’s book about a NYC rat. Instead, I got an accidental suntan and two half-done essays.

Though Porizkova did act in a number of movies over the course of her career, not all of her roles have been reviewed favorably. She received a Golden Raspberry nomination for her leading role in Her Alibi.

Porizkova’s other acting credits include a role in As the World Turns in 2010. She also appeared in Anna, Arizona Dream, Dark Asylum, Desperate Housewives, and many more shows and movies, per her IMDB profile.

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