Messy Divorces and Dishy Lawsuits: Season 2 of ‘My Unorthodox Life’ Will Have It All

My-unorthodox-life - Credit: Art by Rolling Stone. Image Courtesy of Netflix Studios.
My-unorthodox-life - Credit: Art by Rolling Stone. Image Courtesy of Netflix Studios.

When the Netflix reality series ‘My Unorthodox Life’ first premiered in July 2021, the world was introduced to fashion and modeling mogul Julia Haart. At the time, Haart was CEO of Elite World Group, a media and talent agency billed as one of the best in the modeling world. While Haart already fit the bill of a reality television star, complete with dozens of walk-in closets, designer clothes, and a seemingly rich and doting second husband, the show reveled in its twist: Haart’s past life as a wife and mother in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Monsey, New York.

The nine-episode season focused on Haart’s experience leaving her orthodox faith and the ties that kept Haart forever linked to her past life. Her children, Batsheva, Shlomo, Miriam, and Aron, were all raised in the orthodox faith but had different reactions to their mother’s decision to leave the religion and community. Aron, for instance, still lives with their father, Haart’s ex-husband Yosef Hendler and was still dedicated to his ultra-orthodox upbringing in Season 1.

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While Haart spent most of her air time detailing her rise in the fashion world as a win for female empowerment, the girl boss aesthetic of the show glossed over deep questions about Haart’s marriage to Italian businessman Silvio Scaglia. The show also took a less than critical eye to just how she managed to climb up the ladder so quickly, which might have something to do with Haart’s credit as an executive producer. Regardless, the show was greenlit for a second season. But less than eight days after filming for the second season began, Haart and Scaglia’s marriage fell apart—and began a months-long legal battle to determine the fate of their fortunes. With Season 2 just around the corner, here’s a timeline of everything we know about Haart and Scaglia’s demise so far.

June 2019 – Haart Marries Again After Leaving the Orthodox Faith

Haart and her now ex-husband Scaglia were married in 2019. While the couple told the New York Times they first met before 2016, it was Haart’s hiring as the creative director of La Perla, Scaglia’s lingerie company, that changed their relationship from professional to romantic.

“Before, marriage was a prison,” Haart told Oprah Daily while promoting the reality show and her subsequent memoir. “Now I realize that you can be married, you can love someone, and you can still have your own freedom and individuality, and I think that’s beautiful. I love love.”

After their marriage, Haart didn’t just become a wife — she also took on a new role as CEO of Elite World Group, another company owned by Scaglia.

“Silvio had been pressuring me to take over Elite for like nine months,” Haart told the Times. “I didn’t want to do it. Because in my mind, the modeling industry was young women being paraded in front of men, getting told, ‘you’re ugly, you’re fat.’ I wanted nothing to do with it. But he told me, ‘Look, research the industry, maybe you can change it.’ “

July 14, 2021 – My Unorthodox Life Premieres

Two years into her tenure as CEO, Haart’s reality series debuted on Netflix. The show, which featured Haart, Scaglia, and all of Haart’s family, was billed as an inner look into the “unconventional and unstoppable” career Haart had built for herself—and worked as major exposure for the family’s celebrity status.

“After fleeing her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Julia Haart inspired millions around the world with her story of liberation, instantly becoming a spearhead for the modern women’s movement,” a Netflix description of the series reads.”

Haart told the Times she was nervous about being so open on the unscripted series but said the show became a collaboration between her and the director Jeff Jenkins. “He trusted me, and he realized that I’m not someone you can manipulate,” she said. “Nothing went in there without my approval. Zero.” While the show debuted to mixed reviews, it was officially renewed in September 2021 for a second season.

November 21, 2021 – Batsheva Goes First

Following the breakout success of the Netflix series and its positive effect on her influencer career, Haart’s oldest daughter Batsheva announced that she and her husband, Ben Weinstein, who was also featured on the show, were divorcing.

“After some time and consideration we have made the difficult decision to separate. We have so much love and respect for each other but have realized that it is time to take some space to ensure that each of us live the most joyous, fulfilling lives possible,” the two said in a joint statement posted on their Instagram stories. “There are no secret nor salacious events to blame. We are just two best friends who met at a very young age and have grown over the past nine years each in our own way. We so appreciate your continuous support as we embark on this new chapter of our lives, separately.”

During Season 1 of the show, Batsheva and Ben said often that their marriage, which began when they were 19, was made more difficult by getting married so young. The pair also disagreed on the best time to start having children.

February 9, 2022 – Haart Fired Amid Divorce

On February 9, multiple news stories about Haart broke consecutively: Haart was fired, effective immediately, as CEO and co-owner of EWG, and she and Scaglia were filing for divorce.

Just days before, Haart had celebrated the return of filming with a photo with Scaglia. “and just like that… we’re back!” she wrote in a February 2 Instagram post. “Day 1 of filming is complete.”

The story of Haart’s divorce and firing was immediately picked up by New York tabloids, the majority of which reported that Haart was blindsided and unprepared by her removal from the office.

“Julia had no idea when she woke up this morning that she was going to be leaving,” a source told Page Six. “The news of her departure went out on a trade website, and then she filed for divorce in Manhattan Supreme Court around 12 p.m. This was absolutely not her plan for today. It’s f–ing crazy over at Elite.”

Once the news of her firing went public, Haart did her best to get in front of the story, releasing a statement, both confirming the divorce and condemning Scaglia’s actions.

“The action taken to remove Julia Haart from her position as CEO was unauthorized and of no legal effect,” a spokesperson for Haart told multiple news outlets at the time. “She is a 50% owner of the business and was one of the two directors. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when Julia and Silvio are in the beginning of divorce proceedings. Julia will enforce all of her legal rights and remedies.”

February 10, 2022 – The Lawsuits Begin.

One day after the divorce was announced, Haart filed a petition for a temporary restraining order against Scaglia, citing a fear for her life. In the court documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Haart claimed Scaglia had been verbally abusive to both her and her children and made antisemitic comments about her youngest son’s Orthodox traditions.

“Recently, Respondent became increasingly controlling and verbally and emotionally abusive towards me,” the petition read. “He has routinely berated me, calling me ‘a venomous snake,’ a ‘monster’ and a ‘liar,’ in the presence of third parties and at times, my children. One of Respondent’s favorite epithets is to tell me to ‘go f–k yourself.’”

“He further stated, ‘I will kill you in the public eye. I will destroy your reputation.’ As a public figure and the CEO of Elite World Group, my reputation is everything. As a result of [his] threats, I have experienced severe emotional distress,” the petition continued. “Recently, he summarily and without cause dismissed me from our jointly owned business, cut off my credit cards, and made baseless allegations against me.”

Not to be outdone, Scaglia filed a lawsuit a day later, claiming Haart was fired for misappropriating company funds. The suit, filed on February 11, claimed Haart illegally removed $850,000 from an account after she was fired, even though the pair had allegedly agreed not to withdraw any amounts over $250,000 for any reason.

“Haart made the illegal withdrawal upon receiving notice from the directors of Elite World Group LLC (‘EWG’), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Freedom Holding, that they would be voting at the next board meeting, February 11, 2022, on a proposal to dismiss her as chief executive officer,” the lawsuit reads. “The very next day, Haart illegally transferred $850,000 from Freedom Holding to Defendant Haart Dynasty LLC, a limited liability company controlled by Haart.”

In a termination letter included as an exhibit in the lawsuit, Haart was told she was fired because of a failure to raise EWG’s cultural relevance on par with her spending costs, and her departure was “mainly attributal to a huge increase in corporate costs and attributal to the CEO office, well beyond the budgeted amounts.”

February 14, 2022 – Haart Fires Back

Haart filed a lawsuit in Delaware court on February 14, claiming she had been wrongly fired from her role and that Scaglia was “bullying” her in retaliation for their divorce. The suit said Haart was the co-owner of EW and called her the “public face and creative force” behind the company, adding that “its business enormously benefits from her prominent media profile.” In the new lawsuit, Haart sought damages following her firing, claiming evidence proved she owned 50% of the company.

The lawsuit also accused Scaglia of “egregious, bullying, unauthorized conduct,” including blocking Haart’s access to the offices, cutting off phone service in the apartment they shared together, and purposefully planting inflammatory stories about her in the media.

“We are not going to respond to the multiple falsehoods and baseless personal smears in Ms. Haart’s Delaware lawsuit except to put faith in the court to determine the facts and the law,” a spokesperson for Scaglia told People in response to her filing. “We note, however, that this baseless action cannot divert attention from the suit filed last week in NY Supreme Court by Mr. Scaglia, which demands return by Ms. Haart of the $850,000 cash by wire transfer that Ms. Haart illegally, without notice or authority, caused to be transferred from the company to her personal company. We will have more to say in the future about the need for Ms. Haart to be held legally accountable for such allegedly illegal misappropriation of company funds.”

May 27, 2022 – Scaglia Wins First Round

In a May 27 ruling in the Delaware Court of Chancery, a judge denied Haart’s claim for relief, saying the reality mogul did not legally own half of Scaglia’s company.

“Each of Haart’s claims is predicated on her assertion that she owns fifty percent of all classes of Freedom [the parent company] stock,” Vice Chancellor Morgan T. Zurn wrote in the ruling reviewed by Rolling Stone. “Upon careful review of the trial record and post-trial briefs, and for the reasons detailed in my forthcoming memorandum opinion, I find that Haart does not own fifty percent of Freedom’s preferred stock. Haart is therefore not entitled to the relief she seeks. And for the same reasons, Scaglia is entitled to the relief he seeks in his counterclaims.”

In the final decision, Zurn said that Haart had “dirt on her hands,” and while Scaglia claimed in public they were equal owners, he only transferred 49.9995957 percent of the company’s shares to Haart. This was one-half share less than 50 percent, which the judge ruled gave him majority ownership over the company and allowed Haart’s firing to be legally binding.

The judge also pushed back against Haart’s claim that she was bullied and blindsided by Scaglia’s claim of majority ownership, saying Haart knew by January 2021 that she owned less than 50 percent of the company because she began gathering paperwork for a potential divorce and pushed for the company’s corporate accountant to acknowledge a 50 percent split in public emails.

Haart’s attorney acknowledged the ruling but said the former CEO would continue to fight back in New York State court.

July 8, 2022 – Haart Files New York State Lawsuit

Clearly not deterred by the ruling in Delaware, Haart filed another suit in New York, calling Scaglia a “liar and a fraud” in the opening case description. In the lawsuit, Haart refuted Scaglia’s claim that her personal spending had driven the company into ruin. Instead, Haart’s lawyers alleged the mogul agreed to take the CEO position without a salary and instead, EWG would pay its parent company, FHI, a management fee — all under the assumption Scaglia would make himself and Haart equal owners of the company and its accounts.

But according to the lawsuit, everything changed when Haart told Scaglia that she no longer wished to remain in business with him. According to text messages provided in exhibits, Scalia asked Haart to remain his business partner (sans-marriage) one day before he abruptly fired her.

“Scaglia’s purported firing of Haart was romantic retaliation for her no longer wanting to remain his business partner,” the lawsuit reads. “Haart’s indentured servitude must be remedied. It cannot be that a man can convince his wife to give up millions in dollars in salary and benefits, plus an employment contract at the peak of her career (along with the security and independence that come with those things) and then leave her with nothing when his bait-and-switch is revealed.”

August 12, 2022 – Court Rules Scaglia Was Not Abusive, Haart Wins Penthouse

Following Haart’s request for a protection order, both parties endured several months of hearings before Haart’s abuse claims ended in a split victory.

During the hearings, Haart’s youngest daughter Miriam testified in front of the court, saying she had witnessed abusive behavior from Scaglia and had once seen her mother left weeping in the shower because of a fight.

“I was afraid for her safety, and I seriously considered calling the police. I was terrified that he was hurting her,” she testified, according to Page Six. “I ran into the room and found my mother on the bathroom floor, naked, curled up on the floor and sobbing.”

New York State Supreme Court Judge Douglas Hoffman ruled, “there was no fear exhibited by either party and no intimidation, certainly not of Wife. The court had serious concerns with each party’s credibility, to varying degrees.”

But Haart was granted permission to remain in the couple’s Tribeca penthouse, which was featured heavily in the first season of “My Unorthodox Life.”

October 3, 2022 – Scaglia Debuts New Relationship

While the divorce and subsequent lawsuits continued, Scaglia still found time for love. The Italian businessman began dating another fashion mogul, CEO, and high-powered philanthropist mom Michelle-Marie Heinemann.

On October 3, the couple announced in an Instagram post they were engaged to be married.

November 16, 2022 – Season 2 Trailer Premieres

While the lawsuits are still ongoing, last week’s premiere of the trailer for season 2 of “My Unorthodox Life” made it clear that Netflix, and Haart, aren’t going to shy away from the footage they captured throughout the (still ongoing) contentious divorce.

Clips included in the trailer show Haart and Scaglia talking about their divorce and their plans to remain business partners — an ideal scenario that was smashed seconds later when Haart can be heard talking about her firing.

“Silvio fired me. it’s in the press already,” Haart says. “He shut off my email access. He took me off the credit cards. He has lost his freaking mind.”

In addition to Haart’s legal troubles, the show will also detail her daughter Batsheva’s divorce, a continued tension with her son’s love for traditional Orthodox beliefs, and Haart’s own budding attempts at romance following her split from Scaglia. But from the trailer alone, it’s clear that the next season will continue to position Haart (now without a CEO title) as a fiery woman determined to pull herself up by her stilettos.

“Does he actually think I’m going to fold and crumble,” she asks defiantly. “Has he met me?”

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