Billionaire Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi is best known for his roles in some of the most infamous political scandals of the 1980s. They include the Iran-Contra affair (he was a key middleman in the arms-for-hostages exchange) and accusations that he concealed funds alongside Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos. (Khashoggi was acquitted on federal charges of obstruction of justice and mail fraud after more serious charges of racketeering and conspiracy were dropped.)
But the 81-year-old, who now lives in Monaco, was also a womanizer with multiple wives and a bevy of beautiful girls at his beck and call. Among them was young American model Jill Dodd. Ahead of the June 6 publication of her memoir, “The Currency of Love: A Courageous Journey to Finding the Love Within,” Dodd — now 57 and a fashion designer — shares her story of sex, drugs and life as a member of Khashoggi’s harem with The Post’s Jane Ridley.
Sitting on the bed in our Middle Eastern caftans, I knew it was only a matter of time before one of us leaned in for a kiss. After all, we’d been dancing around each other for more than a month.
But Adnan, who had just watched me in the nude, taking a bubble bath, held my face in his hands.
“We can’t kiss until I tell you the situation,” he said. “I want you to be one of my pleasure wives. By Saudi Arabian law, I’m allowed to have 11 pleasure wives and three legal wives.
“I won’t kiss you until you agree to this contract.”
“Yes,” I say and we seal the agreement as our lips meet. In that moment, I become a member of Adnan’s harem, taking turns with other women to have sex with the man I love.
It was fashion modeling that allowed me to mingle with movers and shakers like Adnan. I’d grown up middle-class — my dad a fireman, my mom a secretary — in Downey, Calif., 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
In 1976, when I was 17 years old and 5-foot-9, I answered an ad in the LA Times for a fit model. Before long, I was modeling swimsuits for magazines and catalogs. I joined a not-so-good local agency but then got lucky and signed with the prestigious Wilhelmina Models when I was 20.
The agency dispatched me to Paris, even though I didn’t have the signature ’80s look of big blond hair and perfect teeth. I was a size 6 and curvier than most models of the time. Nevertheless, I started getting high-profile jobs. I was on the cover of Olympe magazine in France and made it into the French editions of Vogue and Marie Claire.
Then, in August 1980, I accompanied my booker, Pepper*, on a weekend jaunt to Monte Carlo and one of her friends invited us to a party in Cannes. The venue was Le Pirate, where long-haired, shirtless waiters strummed guitars and banged tambourines. A crackling bonfire, 20 feet high, lit up the night sky. A “pirate” handed me a glass of Champagne, which I swigged before throwing the glass into the fire, just like all the other guests. It was so wild and decadent.
That’s when I noticed a man smiling and watching me. He reminded me of my friend’s dad. He brought over a chair and sat down. His short stature, round tummy and balding head made me glad he wasn’t a younger guy who was obviously trying to sleep with me.
It was too loud to talk so he pulled me up to dance. The pirates circled us and the guests clapped with the music. Suddenly, my dance partner stopped, grabbed a chair and threw it into the fire. I hurled one in too. We laughed and slammed together like two magnets, whirling around before the flames.
Next, the man and one of the pirates grabbed my hands and feet, scooped me up and swung me back and forth like a rag doll, my hair trailing in the dust. I totally surrendered to the spirit, euphoric with freedom.
Giddy and out of breath, I finally sat down. My new friend gazed into my eyes as he tenderly pushed up my sleeves and used his fingertips to write “I love you” in red on my forearm. It took me a minute to realize it was in blood. Accidentally or not, he had cut himself with a piece of glass.
After I agreed to be his ‘pleasure wife,’ we had sex. Even though he was 24 years older than me, he was an extraordinary lover
I was stunned but I liked it. It was as if we had made some secret pact. A pirate saw the blood and whisked off the man for a bandage. I just kept looking at the message on my arm.
Pepper rushed over. “Oh my God, Jill. Do you know who that was?” Her words pulled me out of my dreamlike state. “It’s Adnan Khashoggi!” The name meant nothing to me; it was only later that I learned he was a wealthy entrepreneur and one of the most well-known men from Saudi Arabia.
The following day, I got a phone call from an acquaintance of Adnan’s. “Jill, you’re invited to Adnan’s yacht for dinner tonight. He really wants to see you,” the man said. I’d seen the boat from the shore the previous evening, all lit up and the size of the Queen Mary. I wanted to go, but I was also nervous.
“I’ll go if you come with me,” I told Pepper.
We boarded the 280-foot yacht, named Nabila after Adnan’s daughter. In 1983, it was used in the James Bond film “Never Say Never Again” and was later bought by the Sultan of Brunei; eventually, it would be owned by Donald Trump who sold it for $20 million to pay off bankruptcy debts in 1991.
Adnan was there to greet us. “Girls, let me take you to dress for dinner,” he said, leading us to a room lined with closets full of couture gowns. I couldn’t believe my eyes — Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Chanel. I chose a delicate gray Lanvin dress with a tight bodice and spaghetti straps. A pair of metallic silver shoes completed the look.
At dinner, I realized I’d never met such an intelligent, worldly and amusing man as Adnan, a 44-year-old father of five. Yes, he had incredible wealth, but he also had a peaceful kind of strength. Slowly, I was falling for his charms. With heels on, I was seven or eight inches taller than him, something which would intimidate most men. But not Adnan.
We did not kiss that night, instead talking until 5 a.m. Adnan quizzed me about my non-existent romantic life and explained how he made his fortune exporting American-made vehicles to Saudi Arabia. He told me that the party at Le Pirate had cost him $25,000 — they send you a bill based on the destruction you caused — and that it cost around $400,000 per month to keep the yacht.
A few days later, when we were both back in Paris, Adnan invited me for lunch at his mansion. For the first time, he talked about his divorce from his ex-wife, Soraya. I later found out that he already had a second wife, Lamia, who I would meet in the beginning of 1981. Not surprisingly, given my romantic relationship with her husband by then, she seemed standoffish. That summer, when I attended the birthday party for their 1-year-old son, she was equally cold.
Over the next few weeks, Adnan wined and dined me — always allowing me to pick out a couture outfit from his collection — but there were other girls in the picture. Some of them looked so young, they could have been assumed to be high schoolers.
It was in late September 1980 at Adnan’s expansive estate near Marbella, Spain — where Adnan had me and a girl named Sabine (who I later found out was another of his love interests) flown in on his private DC-9 jet — that the “contract” was agreed upon. I’d been there for one week horse-riding before he arrived from his travels. I was awoken in the middle of the night by Adnan, who then drew me a bath and sat on a stool next to the tub. We had another deep conversation and, after snorting cocaine, he questioned how and when I’d lost my virginity.
After I agreed to be his “pleasure wife,” we had sex. Even though he was 24 years older than me, he was an extraordinary lover.
As the months went by, I just wanted to be with Adnan and didn’t care about the details. He was my boyfriend. Even though there were other women around, I didn’t know who was a fellow leisure wife, a casual lover or a flirtatious friend. There was no real relationship between us females.
When we visited Adnan’s compound in Kenya, there was just one other pleasure wife on the trip. Sometimes, however, there were larger groups of women — between five and eight on any occasion. We seldom mixed but when we did, usually at business dinners, there was an undercurrent of rivalry. As long as I sensed I was Adnan’s favorite and was placed opposite him at dinner, I couldn’t help feeling superior.
I also felt independent because I continued to pursue my modeling career — a job that Adnan disapproved of, but couldn’t stop me from doing. It wasn’t long before I decided to move back to Los Angeles, so the place I visited Adnan most was his villa in Las Vegas. As my true passion was fashion design, in March 1981 I enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, with Adnan paying my tuition.
When it came to his business, I was completely ignorant. I knew he met with world leaders like Ronald Reagan. He sometimes talked about aircraft deals with Saudi Arabia but, as a 21-year-old child, I wasn’t interested.
But things started to turn sour. I’ll never forget in August 1981 when Adnan came into my suite at midnight, set a box on the bedside table and kissed my forehead. I woke up and turned toward him. When he saw my face, he whispered: “Oh, I have the wrong room. Sorry, go back to sleep. Keep the gift.” Before I could respond, he was gone. My heart dropped. He had thought I was another girl.
There was no joy opening the gift meant for someone else. Inside was an 18-karat solid gold necklace. I pictured Adnan and the other girl making love and physically ached. Doubt started to sink in and I wondered if I could handle the harem any longer.
Another time, I declined a 20-carat diamond ring, which felt too opulent. Later, Adnan gave it to his house manager. I thought: “Maybe that ring didn’t mean much to him.”
By the beginning of 1982, I noticed a change in the type of girls who showed up at the dinners. They were less sophisticated models from Hollywood agencies. Not at all like the stunning female doctor, also a leisure wife, whom he had put through medical school while also funding my design courses.
I felt increasingly weird about it all. I worried about AIDS, as we all did at the time. I didn’t really know who else Adnan was sleeping with and it terrified me. Another driving force was my need to be independent. I felt that accepting large gifts might mean I owed Adnan, rather than it just being a simple romance.
Our relationship ended in the summer of 1982, although there was no written contract to rip up. It was an amicable split and we kept in touch by telephone for years. In 1989, I founded the surfing- and snowboarding-inspired clothing line Roxy and became a successful business owner.
I continued to have an affection for Adnan. I missed him and thought about him all the time. The last occasion we spoke was over the phone in 1988 when I was a single mother after my first divorce. He offered to send a plane to pick me up in California and fly me to the King of Morocco’s Palace in Monaco, where he was staying. I didn’t go because I had a jealous boyfriend. That’s my biggest regret. I should have gone, even just to say thank you for my education.
Now I’m the proud mother of a 32-year-old son and two daughters, aged 22 and 17, and live in Marin County, Calif., with my third husband, Jeff. We’ve been married 18 years.
When I was in my 20s, I had a sense of shame about being with Adnan. I learned that, when you’re with someone with multiple wives, people assume you’re a hooker. But I never forfeited my independence, ambition or creative expression when I was with Adnan and have no regrets.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson: Neither money nor love are worth the sacrifice of integrity, inner peace and authenticity.
*Some names have been changed.*