When you’ve already said “I do” on three Previous occasions, you want to be sure that the fourth time is charmed. So if you’re John Paul De Joria, 49, multimillionaire cofounder of John Paul Mitchell Systems hair-care products, you pull out your wallet—and you pull out the stops. And in the end—for your June 13 wedding to model and Playboy centerfold Eloise Broady, 36—you pull off the impossible.
It bothered De Joria not at all, in fact, that 200 workmen were scurrying about his still unfinished Malibu estate the night before the nuptials, cutting the marble for the courtyard and laying stones in the entry path. “You’d be surprised,” he said calmly, “how far along the place has come.” Nor did it worry him that the two famous L.A. chefs catering the affair—Wolfgang Puck of Spago and John Sedlar of Bikini—would butt egos over steamed lobster vs. crispy duck.’ ‘We would like you guys to work together on this,” De Joria requested. And not for a moment did he fret about the quality of the musical entertainment. “When John Paul said he was getting married, I said, ‘I’ll sing at your wedding,’ ” recalled good buddy Roger Daltrey after serenading Eloise with “You Are So Beautiful” from a flower-laden stage. “What else do you give a man who’s got as much as John Paul’s got materially?” Besides, Daltrey added, “Every wedding should be like this.”
Even Robin Leach, who attended with his girlfriend, model Cecilia Nord, didn’t quibble with De Joria’s style. “The last big wedding I went to was Whitney Houston’s,” he said, surveying a buffet table in the courtyard of the 22,000-square-foot, multipatioed Mediterranean villa. “This new tradition of building homes larger than cathedrals to host weddings is all the trend.”
Fortunately J.P, as he is called, and his bride scrapped their original marriage notions. “We thought about a small wedding in a log cabin,” said Eloise, “but John Paul is such a people person, and he wants to celebrate.” When Eloise figured the cost of the celebrating at $50,000, though, J.P chuckled indulgently. “That’s what I’m spending on the champagne!” he said.
At final tally, the cost was in the hundreds of thousands. There were 10,000 freshly cut flowers, 12 pounds of beluga caviar, tables groaning with pastas, risotto and seafood, and an eight-layer, apricot puree-laced cake flown in from New York City. “The food,” raved Ed Begley Jr., “was great.”
And so was the company. Maria Maples arrived five months pregnant and without The Donald. Daryl Hannah attended sans JFK Jr., and Harry Hamlin and Nicollette Sheridan came separately. De Joria’s high school classmate Michelle Phillips was there and so was his pal Patty Hearst. Cher, though not invited, showed up with a friend—and made up for her unexpected appearance by performing for the crowd. “He thinks we’ve met,” she said afterward, “but we never have.”
Among the 500 invited, there was at least one no-show. Bill Clinton sent a letter from Washington via a friend of J.P’s. Bill Turney. “Hillary and I wish you the very best as you begin a new life together,” the note said. “Our thoughts are with you.” Certainly the President had thought it out. “When Bill gave me this letter,” Turney quipped to the crowd, “he said to make sure I told J.P that the only reason he didn’t come was he was afraid he was going to have a bad hair day and that it’d get in the papers again.”
Of course, bad hair is something the self-made De Joria might have remedied. After spending part of his childhood in foster homes, J.P enlisted in the Navy, then sold encyclopedias and insurance before hooking up in 1980 with hairdresser Paul Mitchell, who was looking to launch his own product line. (Mitchell died in 1989 of pancreatic cancer.) The business now generates $100 million in sales annually.
The Houston-born Eloise had a more middle-class upbringing as the daughter of a Yale-educated lawyer and an artist, but she married for the first time at age 15, when she became pregnant by her high school boyfriend. Divorced after two children and eight years, she remarried, divorced and moved to Hollywood to pursue a modeling and acting career. It was there that she met John Paul—himself a father of three—on a blind date in 1990.
“I picked her up to go out to brunch,” recalls De Joria, who judged his dates against a wish list of perfect traits. “The No. I thing was that the person had to be as beautiful inside as out—which she is.” When they got engaged, on Feb. 13, 1991, he sent Eloise 1,300 long-stemmed red roses—and a single yellow rose of Texas.
The wedding ceremony—which took place on a stage overlooking Malibu canyon—was conducted by former child preacher Marjoe Gortner (subject of the 1972 Oscar-winning documentary Marjoe), a close friend of the bride and groom’s. “Obviously,” he said later, “if Eloise and John Paul had wanted something traditional, they wouldn’t have asked me.” And so, as the guests stood on planters for the best view, Gortner intoned: “You’ll have high times and low times…. You’ll have times when it’s taken over by the hobgoblins of love…. God bless…. Hallelujah.”
Hallelujah, indeed. “I could never have dreamed any of this,” said the dazzled bride. “John Paul has made my life a fairy tale.”