Portfolio features Sumner Redstone on its February cover with a story, titled "Sumner's Discontent," written by Lloyd Grove.
The crux of the article is that while Redstone's assets are crumbling, it's his troubled family life — he famously feuds with his daughter Shari, and he and wife Paula Fortunato recently split — that is "more painful" for the "latter day King Lear."
The full, 4,841-word article, can be read online here at Portfolio.com, but some of the highlights appear below:
Redstone and Fortunato would often talk openly about their active sex life
Their friends talk about their sexual chemistry--and Sumner's libido. "I had a feeling they were always playfully arguing with each other, saying 'Go fuck yourself' and holding hands," says one frequent dinner companion. "Both of them love to talk about sex. Normally, if you make a dinner appointment with Sumner, he shows up on time, but if they show up 15 minutes, half an hour late, they might say, 'We had sex four times today!' "
Redstone reportedly screamed at Fortunato, "Why don't you just fuck him already, so we can go home?" while she was flirting with next-door neighbor Sylvester Stallone
The Redstones' profanity-laced arguments were the talk of the entertainment industry. Sylvester Stallone, their next-door neighbor in Beverly Park, figures in a widely repeated anecdote that Redstone denies. According to two Hollywood insiders who spoke with Stallone and his wife, Jennifer Flavin, Redstone erupted a year ago at one of Arnold and Anne Kopelson's regular Sunday-night movie screenings, when Redstone was anxious to leave and Paula tarried to schmooze with Stallone. "Why don't you just fuck him already, so we can go home?" Redstone allegedly shouted. Stallone--who friends say was outraged by Redstone's remark--declines to comment.
Redstone hopes Fortunato, 47, can still have a baby after they split
She listens, poker-faced, as Redstone tells me, "I would hope she will meet someone nice, who treats her well and isn't after her money--because she'll have a lot of money. And I hope she has a baby. She could still have a baby at her age." In an aside so implausible that it requires suspension of disbelief, Redstone adds, "She is the first lady not just of Viacom, but of Hollywood, and she will continue to be." At one point, Paula excuses herself to retrieve their four dachshunds, and as she leaves the room, she pinches Redstone's left earlobe in a showy display of affection.
Redstone charges that CBS chief Les Moonves "overpaid" in his acquisition of CNET
As he sits in his living room, his P.R. man scribbling notes, Redstone takes a swipe at Moonves. He tells me that Moonves, a hard-charging, universally respected television programmer, "overpaid" for CNET, a group of internet sites that CBS acquired last summer for $1.8 billion. While that's a commonly held view on Wall Street, it's more than a little alarming to hear it endorsed by Redstone, who, as executive chairman of CBS's board, signed off on the CNET purchase price. He airily brushes off responsibility. "You have to understand the way I operate. I'm extremely nonintrusive," he says with no apparent irony. "I told Les that I and many investors did feel that the price he paid was too high," Redstone adds. "I made no bones about it."
Moonves declines to be drawn into a public spat with his boss. "You'll have to get that from him," he says. "I've talked to him a number of times about [CNET] and went through it." He adds, "There's not a major move I make without checking with him and making sure he's okay with it."
On his tumultuous relationship with daughter Shari
At one point during our conversation at his home, Redstone suddenly waxes sentimental about their filial bond, saying, "We have a very loving relationship--she has been the love of my life. When she was a baby, I was the only one she would let feed her."
Then he hands me a document to demonstrate their continued closeness. Dated last May, it's a fax from Shari's office at National Amusements headquarters in Dedham, Massachusetts, responding to her father's request for a one-on-one meeting in Los Angeles. The note, typed completely in capital letters, is fraught with subtext: i've been giving it a lot of thought and for a variety of reasons i don't think that it makes sense for us to get together next week, it begins. i apologize for any inconvenience to you but i have another idea, she goes on, suggesting that they meet the following week in New York, ...perhaps with the kids (or even my mother) as i would like to keep this strictly social and feel it may be easier to do that here in ny with family. It closes with the word love, but a secretary had signed Shari's name.
These days, Redstone and his daughter communicate almost exclusively in writing or through spokespeople trading statements in the media.