Whether you’ve seen the movie or read the book, The Wolf of Wall Street showed the world the reckless, indulgent side of financial bigwigs. At the center of it all was Jordan Belfort, the disgraced former stockbroker whose womanizing ways led to two failed marriages. The story left many wondering what kind of woman would sign up to be Jordan Belfort’s wife—and we’ve got the answers. Find out more about Denise Lombardo, Belfort’s first spouse.
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Debuted In 2013 Starring Leonardo DiCaprio
The Wolf of Wall Street, the black comedy based on the book of the same name, premiered in 2013. The Martin Scorsese-directed flick starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, the infamous real-life stockbroker who spent time behind bars for securities fraud and money laundering.
Although much of the film explores the details of his schemes, it also highlighted Belfort’s life of excess. You may recall Margot Robbie starring as Naomi Lapaglia, his former mistress and second wife. She was loosely based on Belfort’s real ex, Nadine Caridi.
But who was the woman scorned in the process? In his pursuit of Caridi, Belfort left his first wife, Denise Lombardo, in the dust. Her fictionalized version, Teresa Petrillo, was portrayed by actress Cristin Milioti (Fargo, The Mindy Project). Read on for details about the rise and fall of their marriage.
Who Is Denise Lombardo?
Denise Lombardo, Jordan Belfort’s first wife, was wed to the notorious scammer between 1987 and 1991. Very little is known about her—she doesn’t seem to have any social media accounts and has never commented on her ex-husband’s indiscretions after his high-profile downfall.
Lombardo was only in her early twenties when she married Belfort; they had no children by the time they split. It may have made for a slightly less messy divorce, but she still endured her share of grief and stress. According to Milioti’s research, Lombardo was “dragged through the tabloids” during their break-up. She was also the subject of some painful remarks written by her ex-husband.
“She was only 25 years old, and people were saying—and Jordan mentions it in the book—that he traded her in for a better model, essentially,” the actress told Jacksonville news station WJXT in 2014.
And that’s to say nothing of the unpleasant things she put up with during the marriage. By his own admission, Belfort was not a model husband.
“The drug use and the stuff with the hookers and the sales assistants and the sex in the office … that stuff is really, really accurate,” Belfort told The Guardian in 2014. “In some respects, my life was even worse than that. Although I’d say, I did more quaaludes than cocaine.”
Why Did ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Use A Different Name For Denise Lombardo?
Lombardo has made it rather clear that she wants her past to stay there. She reportedly refused to give producers permission to use her name or likeness in The Wolf of Wall Street. She also didn’t make herself available to Milioti when the actress was researching her part.
“I’d be interested in hearing what her side of the story was,” Milioti said. “They were married for years, and she was with him since the beginning. She was with him because she loved him, and not for his money.”
However, she understands Lombardo’s reticence. “No one would want to re-live what she went through,” she said. “I never would want to have someone revisit that period in their life when they obviously don’t want to.”
We respect Lombardo’s decision to keep a low profile. But as a result, we can’t say whether she ever remarried or went on to have a family. We imagine whatever she’s doing, she’s happier than she was during her marriage to Belfort.