Marlene Knaus: All About Niki Lauda’s Ex-wife

Marlene Knaus is the ex-wife of Niki Lauda, the late Formula One driver and businessman. She met Niki in the latter part of 1975 and they got married in the early part of 1976 within a few months of meeting each other. Their union went on to last for the next 16 years and they finally went their separate ways in 1991. The couple share two children – both sons.

The 68-year-old Marlene is a former model, designer, and photographer. Her ex-husband’s demise in 2019 was mistaken for her death, however it was later confirmed that she is hale and hearty.

Summary of Marlene Knaus’ Biography

  • Full Name: Marlene Knaus
  • Gender: Female
  • Date of Birth: 1956
  • Marlene Knaus’ Age: 68
  • Ethnicity: Mixed
  • Nationality: Chilean-Australian
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Marital Status: Divorced
  • Marlene Knaus’ Husband (Wife): Niki Lauda (ex-husband)
  • Marlene Knaus’ Children: Mathias Lauda and Lucas Lauda
  • Marlene Knaus’ Parents: Robert Knaus and Elena
  • Siblings: Three
  • Marlene Knaus’ Height in Inches: 5 feet 6 inches
  • Marlene Knaus’ Height in Centimetres: 167 cm
  • Marlene Knaus’ Weight: 63 kg
  • Body measurements in Inches: 34-26-35
  • Body measurements in Centimetres: 86-60-88
  • Marlene Knaus’ Net Worth: $43 million
  • Famous For: Being the ex-wife of Niki Lauda
  • Twitter: @TheMarleneKnaus

How Old is Marlene Knaus?

Marlene Knaus is 68 years old. She was born in 1956 in the city of Valdivia, located in southern Chile, which confers Chilean citizenship on her. However, she spent a better part of her formative years in Australia and that is the reason she is described as a Chilean-Austrian. Knaus is said to come from Venezuelan roots, but there are also claims that she has a mix of Australian and Spanish backgrounds.

Though she kept the details of her early life and family background hidden for many years, it later came to the fore that Marlene is the daughter of Robert Knaus – an iconic realist painter from Australia.

On the flip side, Marlene Knaus’ mum has been identified as a lady called Elena, who hails from Spain. Robert reportedly wedded Elena in Spain and they later moved to Venezuela. The duo spent almost a decade in Valdivia, Chile, in South America where they had their children and later moved to Europe in 1963.

Marlene built great childhood memories in Valdivia with two sisters and one brother. Her two sisters are Renata and Birgitte Knaus, and her brother is Tilman Knaus. Notable among Marlene Knaus’ siblings is Renata Clary, who grew up to follow in the footsteps of their realist artist dad. She has hosted several successful exhibitions and her worth is rated high.

Nothing much is known about Marlene’s academic journey, but while the Knaus family was living in Valdivia, she enrolled in one of the German schools there. Nothing has been said about the level she attained in school.

What Does Niki Lauda’s Ex-wife, Marlene Knaus, Do For a Living

Marlene Knaus wasn’t interested in pursuing arts like her dad and sister, but that does not mean she didn’t inherit any artistic genes, though hers lies in a different direction.

It soon became evident that she had this sublime impeccable fashion sense that led her into the profession of a fashion model as a teenager during their stay in Australia. Thus, before she met the man who would later become her husband, Marlene was part of the modeling world as a runway queen and had already gained an admirable level of popularity. Her relationship with Niki Lauda only added to what she had already built.

During her days on the runway, Marlene was a sight for sore eyes with her unique hairstyle always in a loose top-knot bun, which became her signature appearance. This was what earned her the nickname, “it girl”. As more and more pictures of the Chilean-Australian model were published during the 1960s, her hairstyle attracted the attention of her female fans and soon, everybody wanted a bit of the Marlene Knaus-look.

The gorgeous beauty queen eventually worked and walked for a good number of fashion and cosmetic brands, including the print media. She appeared on the page of A-list magazines and had a spate of photo shoots while her modeling career lasted.

After she called it quits with modeling, Marlene still remained in the fashion industry as a designer, and later went into photography. She is also listed as a socialite.

Marlene Knaus and Niki Lauda Met While Dating Curt Jürgens

Marlene Knaus and Niki Lauda crossed paths for the first time in 1975. Interestingly, the two were involved in relationships with other people when they met. Lauda was officially engaged to popular model Mariella von Reininghaus whom he had dated for eight long years. On the other hand, Marlene was the girlfriend of Curt Jurgens – a German–Austrian celebrity who earned a living in the entertainment industry as a movie and TV actor.

In fact, Marlene and Niki’s first meeting happened in Curt’s home, where they both attended a party hosted by Curt himself. Reportedly, Niki was enraptured by Marlene’s enthralling beauty and magnetic persona and wanted to know more about her.

The duo’s meeting led Niki to break his engagement and Marlene to end things with Curt, as the lovebirds couldn’t wait to be with each other. They seemed to be in an almighty rush to tie the knot, as they only dated for a few months before taking the proverbial walk down the aisle.

She Became Niki Lauda’s Wife in 1976

Marlene Knaus was reportedly completely ignorant of Niki Lauda’s stardom when they met in 1975. She thought him to be an ordinary 9-to-5 guy until much later when she realized that he was a big name in the car racing field.

Marlene Knaus
Marlene and Niki image source

The lovebird’s wedding occurred in 1976, but the exact date and month are unknown. Also, information about the type of ceremony they had is unavailable, but considering the fact that Niki was already a world-famous car race driver at the time, many believe it must have been a star-studded affair.

Following their nuptials, Niki and Marlene started making regular media appearances, and from what was obvious, the camera just loved them.

Celebrity couples often made headlines, and the couple’s case was no different. They were constantly under the media radar, and their love story was recounted in several publications. In fact, the romantic duo were labeled as the “perfect couple” at a point in their relationship as they went on to serve the couple’s goals.

Marlene Knaus was Nikki Lauda’s Greatest Support System

As they progressed in their union, Marlene Knaus decided to quit her modeling job and focus on supporting Nikki’s career in the car racing field and business ventures.

The mother of two graced every car racing competition her spouse participated in. She traveled with her husband across the globe for his tournaments and would be on the sidewalk praying for his safety and victory.

Niki’s car racing career was fraught with many fatal accidents, and on one horrible occasion, he was in a German Grand Prix context in 1976 when he was involved in a fatal accident that resulted in a fire. He ended up with facial burns and badly damaged eyelids, and according to the reports, Knaus fainted after she saw his bad condition. Niki also inhaled a lot of toxic fumes, but with his wife’s love and support, he was able to make it.

Niki’s fatal accident happened a short while after they tied the knot and when his badly scarred face was revealed to the public, fans and the general public wondered how the ever-gorgeous “it girl” was going to continue in marriage with the race driver. However, that didn’t seem to douse Marlene Knaus’ love for her husband one bit.

With a brave face, she became a pillar of strength behind her husband while he fought for his life, as he recovered from the Grand Prix accident. Marlene gave Niki the courage and the will to heal and their love became even stronger after his full recovery.

Who Is Maerlene’s Husband, Niki Lauda 

Niki Laudas was born Andreas Nikolaus Lauda on the 22nd of February 1949.

Niki first gained fame in the world of extreme sports as a Formula One driver and at a point in his career life, he went into the aviation industry. He was the owner of Laudamotion and Niki and Lauda Air Airlines.

Due to his 1976 accident, Niki had both Kidney and lung transplants, and in the case of his kidney, it was the two that were transplanted. It was complications from the surgeries that eventually led to his demise in 2019.

Marlene and Niki Share Two Children

Marlene Knaus
Niki. Lucas, and Mathias

Marlene Knaus and Niki Lauda were already into the third year of their marriage when they welcomed the first fruit of their union. The couple’s son, Lucas Lauda was born in 1979. Two years down the line, Lucas became a big brother to Mathias Lauda, who was born on the 30th of January 1981.

Out of the former model’s two children, it was the younger one, Mathias, who followed in the footsteps of their father; he is a rally driver. Mathias’ debut in the car racing sports was witnessed in the year 2002 in Formula Nissan 2000. During the 2005-06 A1 Grand Prix season, he represented A1 Team Austria.

Throughout his early days in the car racing sports in the 2000s, Mathias favored single-seater racing, but no significant achievement was coming his way. As a result, he decided to switch to touring cars during the 2nd half of the decade. Thus, in 2015, he began racing for the extreme sports company called Aston Martin Racing. He then went on to join the FIA World Endurance Championship as a factory driver.

Fortune eventually smiled on him two years later, 2017, when he accomplished his career-best #1 position for the Endurance Trophy in the category of LMGTE Am Drivers.

Though it was only Mathias who became a race car driver like their father, his big brother, Lucas, also stayed as close to the car racing field as possible. He is currently working with Mathias as his manager.

Though Lucas and Mathias are the only children that Marlene and Niki share, the late car race driver was a father of five. He had a son named Christoph outside wedlock; the boy was born in 1982 and is just a year younger than Mathias.

After his divorce from Marlene, Niki got married for the second time to Birgit and had a set of twins, Mia and Max in 2008.

Marlene’s Husband Was Unfaithful to Her

As Niki grew in fame and fortune, he acquired a couple of airlines and his personal life had to suffer, as he gave more attention to his professional life. Consequently, he got involved with a woman whose identity has remained hidden to date. Niki got the woman pregnant and that was where his third son, Christoph, came from.

After the news of Niki’s infidelity went public, many thought Marlene Knaus was going to divorce him right away, however, the reverse was the case. Marlene appeared to be on her husband’s side throughout the ensuing scandal, and they managed to remain married for another decade before things finally went south and they divorced in 1991. The couple’s union lasted 16 years.

Why Did Marlene Knaus Divorce Niki Lauda?

People who had been expecting the couple to get divorced since the early 1980s after Niki got another woman pregnant were interested to know what eventually led to their split.

However, neither Niki nor Marlene were willing to open up, but that did not stop people from speculating. The public eventually came to the conclusion that whatever led to their split may have been an offshoot of Niki’s extra-marital affair that happened 10 years ago, but this was never confirmed.

Life After Divorce

Following their divorce, Marlene reportedly got a huge alimony from her ex-husband, but the exact amount never earned a mention.

From 1991 when the couple got divorced to date, Marlene never bothered to remarry and she managed to keep the details of her love life under wraps, which made it difficult to get information about her hookups and breakups.

It is worth noting that there was no bad blood between Niki and Marlene after they parted ways. The former model maintained a close relationship with her ex-husband and was even on good terms with his second wife, Birgit Wetzinger. Marlene attended all the Lauda family ceremonies and gatherings for the sake of the children they shared.

With that said, we must not forget to mention the fact that Marlene was there for Niki when he was going through his last days in hospital. She remained by his side until he breathed his last at the University Hospital of Zürich.

Is Marlene Knaus Dead?

After Niki Laud died on the 20th of May 2019, rumors started making the rounds that Marlene Knaus had died. However, the record was later set straight when the actual identity of the person who died was eventually released.

At the time of this writing, the mother of two is hale and hearty and living in the house Niki gifted her in Ibiza, Spain.

It’s important to note that the late Formula One driver made provisions for Marlene in his last will and testament despite the fact that they have been divorced for many years. He divided his $445 million fortune between his five children, his widow, and his ex-wife.

Chidiebube has been writing and editing articles on movies, entertainment and other juicy things for several years. When he is not writing, he spends time outdoors, lost in the beauty of nature or simply travelling around the world. Thank goodness he can do the later with any internet-enabled device


Featured Today

Fact Check

We strive for fairness and accuracy, if you've found a possible error or something that needs updating, please contact us

Related Stories