The life they exposed online was a vaudeville of New York high society, but it seems that their intimacy had become a horror movie. Former Portuguese drag queen José Castelo Branco and diamond heiress Betty Grafstein starred in viral videos on social media showing themselves as the odd couple. Apart from the age difference, he was 61 years old and she was 95, they drew attention for sharing a closet and for Castelo’s behavior when he repeated “I want to be like my wife.” 

Castelo, who is the cousin of former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, was arrested this May in Portugal accused of attacking his wife, whose maiden name is Lady Elizabeth Larner as she is the adopted daughter of a lady-in-waiting of Queen Mary of Teck. It was she who reported her husband’s physical and psychological abuse to the CUF Cascais hospital team earlier this month, after being hospitalized for a fractured femur and injuries to her forearm. 

Betty has remained in the hospital since April 20, believed to be accompanied by her only son, Roger Grafstein, while José, now free but prohibited from visiting his wife, assures that these are false accusations and defends his innocence. on social networks and in several Portuguese television programs. The nonagenarian sued him on Thursday, May 2, and he was arrested in the Estoril area on Tuesday, May 7, after which he was interrogated and released by Portuguese police.

“I have been very quiet, but I am still here, strong. And I continue to ask everyone to pray for Betty’s recovery,” she said in a video posted on her Instagram account in the last few hours. The couple shared a large part of their daily lives on social networks and accumulated thousands of views because of how disconcerting their videos could be. Now this content is analyzed by curious people who show how strident and oppressive José was towards Betty and wonder if those small fights were just the tip of the iceberg. 

Betty Grafstein was born in the United Kingdom in 1928 and as a baby was adopted by a British aristocracy family. At a very young age she decided to move to New York with her first husband, who soon abandoned her and her newborn son, Roger. It was then that she met the diamond merchant Albert Grafstein, whom she married in 1949 and was with him until his death in 1991. Albert adopted Roger and gave him his surname and occupation, from which comes the Betty’s fortune. 

For his part, José Castelo Branco is a veteran of the fashion scene, singer, television personality and former drag queen, who was known in the nineties by the nickname Tatiana Romanova, one of the best-known drags in the world. Portuguese country, which had even performed at Donald Trump’s parties. 

Descended from a Portuguese military family based on the African continent, Castelo was born and raised in the city of Tete, in the north of Mozambique, then a Portuguese overseas province, until he was twelve years old. In 1986 he married his first wife, Maria Arlene Ferreira Pólvora, two years younger than him and with whom he had his only child, Guilherme Pólvora Castelo Branco Vieira. 

It is not the first time that José Castelo Branco has had problems with the law. In 2009 he was accused of assault by public relations manager Daniel Martins after an argument in a Lisbon restaurant, for which he was sentenced to nine months in prison with a suspended sentence. And in September 2022, he was sentenced to pay a fine of 550 euros for having stolen, in December 2019, a Dior perfume from the duty-free shop at Lisbon airport. 

Betty Grafstein and José Castelo Branco met in the 1990s between New York and Portugal, where the millionaire was already spending the summer with her second husband. The couple married in 1996 and doubts about Castelo’s intentions towards Grafstein always hovered over the marriage because of the lifestyle she provided for Castelo. In a recent interview with The US Sun, José said that strangers accuse him of “living off her money and say I can’t wait for her to die. She receives most of the harassment.”