Alexandra Tolstoy’s life has been many things, but she can never complain that it’s been dull. Take her romantic CV. Her first marriage was to a penniless, alcoholic Cossack horseman, whom she met on the Silk Road. Her next relationship was with a billionaire Russian oligarch, Sergei Pugachev, a Russian senator known as Putin’s banker. They travelled the world and had three children, but it did not end well, as anyone who saw The Countess and the Russian Billionaire, a recent fly-on-the-wall documentary filmed over five years, knows.
“As we went along, everything went completely pear-shaped,” she says, sitting on a sofa which will shortly be sold, in a house from which she will soon be evicted. Two years ago, she lost a court case over who owns the house, two vast, converted artist’s studios knocked into one, in the heart of Chelsea.