Former model Yolanda and her record producer husband David snuggle... together in the sumptuous garden of their Malibu home (above)....

Former model Yolanda and her record producer husband David snuggle up
together in the sumptuous garden of their Malibu home (above). “I designed
every inch of this place and managed a team of 100 builders,” says Yolanda.
“It was a huge project. I designed it for my family”
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‘I loved this house because it was a
home for us, but I could be equally
as happy somewhere half the size.
I can make a home anywhere’
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he’s one of the most popular stars of
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but
you’re unlikely to catch Yolanda Hadid
Foster shopping up a storm on Rodeo
Drive. “I couldn’t live in Beverly Hills,”
says the former model, perched on a
sofa in the Malibu mansion home she
designed herself. “I grew up on a farm
and I need to have nature in my life.”
There could scarcely be a more
glamorous location from which to enjoy
the great outdoors. As well as a
wonderfully fragrant lemon grove and
an infinity pool, the six-bedroom
mansion boasts breathtaking views over
the Pacific Ocean, with whales and
dolphins often visible from the
manicured gardens.
But the home’s pièce de résistance is the
piano that dominates the living space,
with the 16 Grammy awards won by
Yolanda’s husband, David Foster,
decorating the Yamaha’s lacquered lid,
offering an insight into the illustrious
career of the musician, record producer,
composer, singer, songwriter and
arranger who has worked with many of
the world’s top recording artists,
including Whitney Houston, Celine
Dion, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson
and Madonna.
The couple have been married for
two years, after being introduced by
Netherlands-born Yolanda’s first
husband, property developer Mohamed
Hadid, in 2006, with whom she has three
children, Gigi, now 18, Bella, 17, and
14-year-old Anwar.
Yolanda looks as young as in her
modelling days, even though she’s just
celebrated her 50th birthday. Her health,
however, has not been as strong. In 2012,
she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, a
tick-borne illness that, she says, “brought
me to my knees”.
Opening their home exclusively to
hello!, Yolanda and David reveal all
about their romance, living with a
Yolanda saw the Spanish-style villa rise from the ground and making sure there
was plenty of outdoor space was an important factor. “I grew up on a farm and I
need to have nature in my life,” she says. The estate boasts a fragrant lemon
grove, while whales and dolphins can be seen frolicking in the ocean
HELLO1313p006-020.indd 8
debilitating condition and why
there’ll be no trip to the plastic
surgeon’s office just yet.
Happy belated birthday, Yolanda.
What did you do to celebrate?
“I didn’t want to do anything this
year because I’ve been sick for 18
months. I said to David, ‘What if I
wake up not feeling right? Then I’ll
have the pressure of faking it and
I’m feeling too vulnerable.’ I said,
‘Let’s just wait and we’ll do
something next year.’”
But he surprised you anyway…
“Yes. I was in my kitchen when all of
a sudden my mum and brother
walked in. I almost had a heart
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‘I need to stay connected to the earth and
this house is very in tune with nature’
With its spectacular views of the
Pacific Ocean, the manicured
garden – complete with infinity
pool (below) – makes a tranquil spot
in which the couple can relax
attack. David had flown them over from Holland
as a surprise.”
David: “I definitely surprised her. I forget that
Yolanda is basically here by herself. What family
she does have is 6,000 miles away.”
Yolanda: “My dear friend [fashion designer] Paul
Marciano also threw a dinner party for me and
around 30 of my closest friends.”
D: “Stevie Wonder came and gave a great speech.
It was very special.”
Were any of the Housewives there?
Y: “No.”
What did David buy you?
“A beautiful chain of really fine diamonds. I
honestly didn’t want any gifts. I’ll say to him,
‘Write me a love letter instead, as it means
much more.’”
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‘I love it when my husband
says: “I’m proud this is my
home and my woman”’
HELLO1313p006-020.indd 10
D: “When she says, ‘I’d rather have a letter than a
present,’ she absolutely means it. At Christmas, I
wrote her a lengthy letter – I spent two or three
days on it, as it doesn’t flow for me naturally.
When I gave it to her, you’d have thought I’d
given her a million dollar diamond bracelet.”
How does it feel to be 50, Yolanda?
“It’s huge and I love it. Aside from my health
issues, this is the best time in my life. I’ve raised
three extraordinary children, I have found the
love of my life and I’m really enjoying being
married. I’m also ready to go back to work and
pass on my wisdom to younger women who are
just starting this journey.”
A lot of women in Hollywood fear the ageing
“I’ve never understood that. I won’t say that I’ll
never have plastic surgery, but I want to wait as
long as I can before going down that road. My
mum is 74 years old and she looks amazing. She
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The comfy lounge is where Yolanda,
David and their combined tally of eight
children spend most of their time
when all together, relaxing and
watching TV. Cosy nooks (below) offer
a stylish work area, while giant glass
walls in the living room and the
bedrooms (below, far left) let the
natural light flood in
doesn’t even know what Botox is. In LA, all the
women look the same.”
Growing older doesn’t seem to faze you…
“Joyce [Giraud de Ohoven] on the show called
me an ‘old lady’. I thought, ‘You wait till you get
to my age.’ I have had my health taken away from
me. All that matters to me is that I can get up in
the morning and use my brain. If someone looks
at me and thinks that I’m an old woman, then
who cares?”
You’re in fantastic shape. Good genes aside, is
there a secret?
“Choosing to eat right. The truth is it’s a lifestyle
you choose to live. One morning a week I’ll have
pancakes, but you have to be disciplined. Exercise
is obviously really important.”
David, you made a video detailing all the things
that you love about your wife. Have you always
been romantic?
“No. I’m Canadian and we’re not all that
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demonstrative. I think all my romance
comes out in my music and there’s
nothing left for real life. Yolanda is a
die-hard romantic, though, and she’s
brought it out of me.”
Y: “David has always put it on paper,
in his lyrics, but to really make your
partner feel loved and acknowledged
takes work. I’ve been a hopeless
romantic my whole life. At the
beginning, I’d ask him to write me a
letter and after four lines he’d be
done. I’d say, ‘Reach deep, because
that’s where all the beautiful things
are that I want to hear.’”
David, in the video, why did you say
you require “a lot of understanding”?
“I haven’t necessarily put things in the
right order in my life. I suspect that
family should come first, but I don’t
know if it’s possible to put family first
and also be super successful in your
career. It’s a constant struggle.”
Are you a perfectionist?
“I like to win. I fiercely hate failure. As
long as I’m working, I’m going to
work to win. When I make a record
that doesn’t work, I want to kill
myself. It’s a strange phenomenon, as
you can make five records in a row
that work and then you apply those
same techniques to the sixth record
and it flops.
“We all have failures – I think my
batting average is good, but I still
miss. My motto is, ‘Good is the enemy
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‘Yolanda’s the greatest
woman. We’re just really
great pals and I want to
grow old with her’
of great’ and I try to live my life like
that every day.”
Yolanda, you’ve started a company
called Hopelessly Romantic to help
couples stay connected. You and
David have a very strong chemistry.
What are your key tips?
“It’s hard work to keep romance in
a relationship. I’ve been cheated
on and had my confidence shaken.
It’s not about the buying; it’s about
the simple things that make us
women feel appreciated.
“After the first year in a
relationship, you start seeing things
you don’t like – at some point you
have to take responsibility and say,
‘I’m going to work on this.’ If my
husband likes me to wear lingerie
or make him pancakes once in a
while, I’m going to do it. You can
keep changing partners but the
same issues will keep arising.”
Do you think it’s a big part of a
woman’s role to be a homemaker?
“I take it very seriously. It’s not only
my job to make my home the best
for my husband – my king – but
also for my children. From very
early on, I would make their beds
with the best European down
duvets – I always wanted them to
want to come home to their own
beds because they were so comfy
and reminded them of mummy.
“I love it when my husband says,
‘I’m proud this is my home and my
woman.’ Some people might say
I’m submissive or weak but, no, it’s
my strength. David’s out all day,
working hard; I love for him to
come home and have a homemade
dinner. Every night of the week, I sit
down with my children to eat. Even
if I have an engagement somewhere,
I will sit with them before I go out.
“There are so many dysfunctional
kids in this town and a lot of them
hardly see their parents. That
connection with your husband and
your kids is so important.”
D: “She creates the most wonderful
home. I love coming home to her. I
love going to sleep with her and
waking up next to her.”
Why do you think there are so few
successful marriages in Hollywood?
Y: “I think that there are too many
options in this town. There are a lot
of girls here with no morals – they
will sleep with your husband for a
Chanel bag. Breaking up someone’s
marriage means nothing to them.
Here, you see 65-year-old guys with
25-year-old girls. It’s not normal.”
You have first-hand experience of
extra-marital affairs, Yolanda…
“My first marriage broke down
because of my ex-husband’s
infidelity. After we split, I signed an
agreement that I couldn’t take the
children more than a certain
number of miles away, which meant
I couldn’t go back to Holland, even
though that is where I would have
wanted to raise them. I took my
three kids and started a new life, in
Santa Barbara.
“At that time I felt that I had
HELLO1313p006-020.indd 13
Melody maker: David’s work with the likes
of Celine Dion and Whitney Houston has
seen him win 16 Grammys. He keeps the
awards on top of his highly polished piano13
(left), which stands close to the elegant
dining table (far left), where Yolanda
hosted dinner for her fellow Housewives
24/01/14 15:18
‘I love to go to
the flower market
at 5am, choose
the flowers and
bring the colours
of the season into
the home’
With Yolanda’s love of the natural
world, it is no surprise flowers play a
big part in decorating the home
(above and right), while a glass
refrigerator (below) keeps nature
chilled in the kitchen (left and below
left). “I love to bring the colours of the
season into the home,” she says
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HELLO1313p006-020.indd 15
as he wouldn’t have had the tools to
deal with me. Timing is everything
and I’m not intimidated by
someone’s past. If you can be honest
about things and say, ‘I screwed up
here. I never did this for her so I’ll
do it for you,’ then it can only be a
positive thing.”
He was reluctant to marry again…
“He said, ‘I will never get married
again. I will never raise another set
of children.’ When we met, he was
living in a small apartment, happy as
a clam. He loved that simple lifestyle.
“After a couple of years, the
conversation came up because I was
building this house. The market had
just collapsed and I had trouble
getting my construction loans. I
really needed his financial help and
that changed the dynamic. Because
of the problems, it became ‘our
house’. I remember asking, ‘How
are we going to do this? Am I going
to move in with my kids or are you
going to move in, too?’”
So you ended up living together
almost by accident…
“Yes. He was still adamant that he
didn’t want to get married, so I said,
‘I will never talk about getting
married but just keep one thing in
mind – I will love you, I won’t
complain about it, I won’t nag
you, but one day I might wake
failed. My dad died when I was very
young and I always felt that I wanted
to raise a family with a father in the
house – it was so important to me.
“Even though it wasn’t my fault, I
still felt a lot of responsibility. I
checked out of my life and focused
solely on my kids. I didn’t date for
seven years.”
But it was your ex-husband who
introduced you to David…
“Mohamed kept saying, ‘I don’t want
you to be alone.’ I was really happy
being with my children, raising
my family.
“One night he threw a dinner
party for me but I pulled out. He was
quite upset with me. He said, ‘You’re
going to grow old alone. If you think
someone’s going to ring your
doorbell in Santa Barbara, you’re
wrong.’ When he calmed down, he
told me that one of the guys who
came to the dinner party saw a photo
of me and said, ‘I want to meet that
woman, she’s gorgeous.’
“David got my number and he
drove down to Santa Barbara to
meet me. We had a six-hour dinner
and we’ve been together ever since.”
David has been married three times
before. Did that concern you?
“Not really. I think I got my husband
at the right time. It probably
wouldn’t have worked 20 years ago
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Yolanda gets ready for a
dip in one of the
property’s many
luxurious bathrooms
before choosing an outfit
from the giant walk-in
closet (right), which leads
off the master bedroom
and its ocean views
up and be done. I might think, “You
missed your chance.”’”
The proposal must have been a
“I kept my word and never brought it
up again. One Christmas, we were at
Mohamed’s house with all the kids
and David went down on one knee
and proposed. I said, ‘Why here? In
my ex-husband’s house?’ He said it
was because it was the first place he
ever laid eyes on me. He had asked all
HELLO1313p006-020.indd 16
my kids for their permission, which I
thought was incredibly sweet.”
What changed your mind, David?
“Without any disrespect to any of my
previous life, I honestly feel like
Yolanda’s just the greatest, greatest
woman. She always has my back,
“Obviously she’s beautiful and I’m
wildly attracted to her, but when you
peel back that layer, you’re left with
the rest of the stuff and as you get
older, it’s that stuff that’s more
important. We’re just really great pals
and I really want to grow old with her.
It’s just a great feeling.”
You have eight children between
Y: “It’s not easy. Step-parenting is the
hardest job anybody can do. We’re
making it work because I love my
husband and it’s about the two of us.
All those children are going to move
on, get married, have their own
families. I try my hardest: I invite
everybody – the ex-wives, their new
boyfriends, my ex-husband – for
Christmas and Thanksgiving and
hope that they can all figure it out. At
the end of the day, we’re family.”
What’s the secret to hosting a
successful dinner party?
“I love to go to the flower market at
5am, choose the flowers and bring
the colours of the season into the
home. I spend a lot of time thinking
24/01/14 15:19
‘I don’t think any of the
Housewives are my
friends. When I got sick,
do you think any of
them offered to come
and bring me coffee?’
highlights? Working with Earth,
Wind & Fire in the Seventies,
hooking up with the band Chicago
in the mid-Eighties, working with
Celine Dion, doing the soundtrack
to The Bodyguard with Whitney
Houston, working with Nat King
Cole and his daughter Natalie;
when the Top 40 thing stopped
working for me, writing for Andrea
Bocelli, Michael Bublé and Josh
Groban… It’s propelled me right to
this moment – to be a 64-year-old
who’s still semi-relevant in the music
business is amazing.”
Who would you most like to
collaborate with now?
“Sting. I love his music. We’re
acquaintances and we’ve talked
about working together, but he
obviously does very well without me.
I’ll have to do a bit more convincing.”
You were honoured with a star on
the Hollywood Walk of Fame…
“My star is right beside the Beatles’,
whose music changed my life, and
right outside Capitol Records, which
is where I got my first recording
contract. It all just made such perfect
sense. It’s John, Paul, George and
Ringo, Buddy Holly, then me. I feel
pretty good about that.”
Yolanda, what was the inspiration
behind your design of the house?
“I designed every inch of this place
and managed a team of 100
builders. It was a huge project. I
designed it for my family. I need to
stay connected to the earth and this
house is very in tune with nature.
“It was a much bigger project
than I had anticipated. It is a
beautiful home but it requires
about the seating plan: who would
have a great conversation with whom.
I always try to create a memorable
night. That’s how I show my love to
the inner circle in my life.”
David, you’ve had an astonishing
career. Do any of your collaborations
stand out?
“I try not to look back on my career
too often because sometimes when I
reflect, it feels as though I’ve
accomplished nothing. The
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The house has many places for
the family to get away from it all,
including a bar and pool room,
where David’s gold and platinum
discs decorate the walls (below),
a movie room (below right) and a
regal library (below far right)
so much upkeep. I’m a perfectionist – even the
mulch on the driveway has to look a certain way –
and with a house this size, it’s very hard to stay on
top of everything.”
Sounds like you’re planning to downsize…
“Yes. My daughter Gigi is already in college and my
younger daughter Bella is leaving this summer. It
will just be the three of us – David, me and my son
Anwar – at home now and this is a lot of house for
three people. For me, it doesn’t mean anything. I
loved this house because it was a home for all of us,
but I could be equally as happy somewhere half the
size. I can make a home anywhere.”
D: “When you get to a certain age, you just want less
instead of more. My line is, ‘If you can live large,
everybody should do it once.’ When you get there,
though, you realise that it’s a lot of work and a lot of
expense. We just want to go simpler. These days,
everybody has to be fiscally responsible.”
Are there any other reasons you want to move on?
“Yolanda built it, it was Yolanda’s dream, she did an
amazing job, but she’s not in the same health as she
was when she was building this house. I don’t have
the time to take care of all the details and she
doesn’t have the health to do it, so that’s the
combined story.”
Yolanda, Gigi is following in your footsteps with a
successful modelling career. Did you have any
reservations about her entering the industry?
“Gigi started modelling when she was a toddler. She
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‘If you can live large, everybody
should do it once. When you get
there, though, you realise that
it’s a lot of work and a lot of
expense’ David
worked for a few years, then I pulled her out from
the ages of ten to 17. I didn’t want anybody
judging her on her looks at such an impressionable
time. But I promised her on her 17th birthday
that we’d go to New York if she still wanted to
model. She signed with IMG.
“She’s also studying criminal psychology. I told
her to take a year off and make a lot of money – I
have raised my kids to always be financially
independent – but she said, ‘If I stop school now,
I might never get back into it.’ She got straight As
while shooting some big campaigns.”
You suffer from Lyme disease. How did you get
“A few months before my wedding, I started
having trouble recalling people’s names and I
was feeling generally run down. The doctor said
I was just working too hard.
“During my first season of Housewives, my body
started shutting down – I couldn’t read, write or
even remember the alphabet and I couldn’t get
out of bed some days. I ended up in hospital for
two weeks and they couldn’t find out what was
wrong. I had the best doctors in the world, who
had no idea. They thought it must be chronic
fatigue syndrome. The best doctor for that lives in
Belgium, so we flew over there. He diagnosed me
with chronic neurological Lyme disease. They put
a port in and I had 90 days of intravenous
antibiotics. It didn’t make me feel any better and
I went through hell. For eight months, I stayed in
my room, staring at the ceiling.
“I travelled the world looking for a cure – I
stayed in a clinic in Florida for two months; I did
30 days of hardcore detox in Switzerland, where I
wasn’t even allowed to use shampoo or lotion.
After all this, I still didn’t see much improvement.
I haven’t driven my car for 18 months. It’s a
disease that you can’t see from the outside, so
people think you’re okay, but it’s a devastating
condition. It brought me to my knees.”
You tweeted a picture of a scan that showed the
damage this disease has done to your brain…
“A few months ago, I learnt about a new kind of
MRI. This showed that the Lyme had shut down
the brain function in my left frontal lobe – I was
living with one fifth of my usual brain
function. When the doctor told me this
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‘Yolanda built this
house. It was
Yolanda’s dream, she
did an amazing job’
brain has shown a 20 per cent improvement. I can’t
tell you how amazing it is. It’s the best birthday
present ever.”
Tell us what you think about your fellow
“To be honest, I don’t think any of them are my
friends. When I got sick, do you think any of them
offered to come over and bring me coffee? It was a
huge lesson for me. I agreed to do a second season
as I really wanted to raise awareness of my struggle
with Lyme disease.”
D: “I have to be careful as I got in trouble the last
time I spoke about the show. Yolanda made the
decision to do the show and I supported her. She’s
stayed true to herself. I think she’s served the show
well and it has served her well, so we’ll see how it all
plays out.”
Will you do another series?
Y: “I don’t know. The show is an extraordinary
platform – I went on it to get some exposure for my
business and got Lyme disease instead. I have people
writing to me from all over the world, thanking me
for bringing this disease into the public arena. I
want to use my voice to help. I won’t sell my
soul to the devil, though, so we’ll see.”
The new series of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
continues every Tuesday at 9pm on Lifetime (Sky 156 &
Virgin 242)
I just started bawling. There had been days when
I’d told David to get me locked up – I had started to
think I was going insane. To actually see the brain
damage, it was a huge relief to know I wasn’t crazy.”
D: “People need to know this about Yolanda – she’s
not a whiner, she’s not a complainer. When she got
sick, it was shocking as she is the last person on the
planet who you’d think could go down. I’m starting
to see an improvement and she looks at me once in
a while and thanks me for standing by her. I think
we can all be thankful for a lot of things, but that
surely shouldn’t be one of them. I would expect the
same from her.”
What treatment are you getting now, Yolanda?
“I entered into a clinical trial a few weeks ago – I
have 10,000 electrical shots to my brain every day,
to create new pathways. After just a few days, my
David relaxes by the
entrance to the home.
As beautiful as it is,
both he and Yolanda tell
that it’s now too big for
them and they’re
thinking of downsizing.
“We just want to go
simpler,” he says
With the sun setting over the ocean, the house is
lit up for the night, the rich, warm colours
reflecting the Malibu heat. Making a welcoming
home for her family is very important to Yolanda.
“I take it very seriously,” she says. “It’s not only
my job to make my home the best for my
husband – my king – but also for my children”
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