The first lady of Bravo’s “Southern Charm,” Patricia Altschul, is everything you could want in a rich, eccentric South Carolina woman. She speaks with an old fashioned intonation, she wears expensive kaftans and she literally has a butler! And, of course, she has a bevy of ex-husbands that she occasionally serves up with the youngsters at her exquisitely decorated dining table.
So who were the men who won Altschul’s heart back then – and then lost it? The grande dame has been married three times, she says, and divorced twice. She has spoken about the former loves of her life a few times, both on the show Southern Charm and in her book The Art of Southern Charm. Now that she’s set to return for Southern Charm Season 8, we’re curious to learn more about Altschul’s former husbands. They include her son Whitney’s father, Lon Smith, Edward Fleming, and her third and final partner, Arthur Altschul.
Patricia Altschul’s first ex-husband is Whitney’s father
Speaking to the cast of “Southern Charm” in 2017, Patricia Altschul offered her own experience of marriage in contrast to the mostly single young adults who sat at her table. “When I met Whitney’s father, we got married after three months,” she said of her son’s father. “Okay, now ask me about the second… two weeks.” This might seem like a mighty fast time to go from dating to saying yes, but Altschul is old-fashioned in that regard. “There is no more mystery or romance. Women make themselves so available,” she said in the episode. “You can email someone an emoji of a glass of wine, they come over and you have sex and they go home. I mean, it’s the end of western civilization as far as I can tell.”
Most of what we can tell you about Altschul’s first husband, Whitney’s father Lon Hayes-Smith, comes from Altschul and Whitney themselves. In her book, The Art of Southern Charm (via The Daily Dish), Altschul says that she and Smith first met when she was a student at George Washington University and he was the director of Dun & Bradstreet. Whitney rarely speaks publicly about his father, although he once shared a photo of the two enjoying a soccer game on his Instagram.
Smith and Altschul divorced amicably after 14 years of marriage, according to her, and now while she’s busy keeping Bravo in court, he’s busy trying to retire.
Two of Patricia Altschul’s husbands have died
Patricia Altschul’s second marriage also ended in divorce — although it apparently began just as quickly as her first. Later in life, Patricia married Edward Fleming, who apparently was a pretty big deal. According to his Washington Post obituary, Fleming founded the Psychiatric Institute of Washington and the Psychiatric Institutes of America and died at the age of 67. Patricia described Fleming in “The Art of Southern Charm” (via The Daily Dish) and “a descendant of Robert E. Lee,” which, well, goes on. But after a whirlwind romance, Patricia felt cut off from her life and they divorced after a year and a half.
It seems that the true love of Patricia’s life was her third husband, Arthur Altschul, whom she married in the late ’90s, according to The Art of Southern Charm. Arthur was a noted investment banker and art collector, according to his New York Times obituary, and died in 2002 at the age of 81, just a few years after his marriage to Patricia.
Even after being widowed, Patricia seems poised to become a bride again. Reflecting on her past marriages following her engagement to mystery man Mr. C in 2018, Altschul told Bravo, “I’ve been married 200 times and I’ve never had a wedding!”