Kanye's new girlfriend was a teen dominatrix, plus more wild facts about actress-artist Julia Fox
There's a new woman in Kanye West's life: artist-actress Julia Fox. The duo had "an instant connection" when they met for the first time in Miami on New Year's Eve in 2021 and quickly became attached at the hip. On Jan. 6, 2022, Interview magazine even published a brief essay in which the brunette beauty dished on her burgeoning romance with the father of four amid his ongoing divorce from Kim Kardashian. (The essay accompanied a series of PDA-packed photos from Kanye and Julia's first week of coupledom.) But who is Julia Fox?! Wonderwall.com rounded up everything you need to know about the chart-topper's new paramour — from her rough childhood and major drama with multiple exes to her time as a dominatrix, weird artistic endeavors and more!
Julia Fox and Kanye West took off like wildfire
In a brief essay for Interview magazine that debuted online on Jan. 6, 2022, Julia Fox opened up about her "instant connection" with Kanye West when they met in Miami on New Year's Eve: "His energy is so fun to be around. He had me and my friends laughing, dancing, and smiling all night," she wrote, adding that they "decided to keep the energy going" by flying back to New York City to see "Slave Play" on Broadway. (She was "impressed" when Ye made it to the show on time, she wrote.) Afterwards, they got dinner at Carbone, where the rapper "directed an entire photo shoot" for her as other guests dined. "The whole restaurant loved it and cheered us on while it was happening," she gushed. "After dinner Ye had a surprise for me. I mean, I'm still in shock. Ye had an entire hotel suite full of clothes. It was every girl's dream come true. It felt like a real Cinderella moment. I don't know how he did it, or how he got all of it there in time. But I was so surprised. Like, who does things like this on a second date? Or any date! Everything with us has been so organic. I don't know where things are headed but if this is any indication of the future I'm loving the ride."
She's a self-professed "diehard" fan of the Kardashians On a December 2021 episode of her "Forbidden Fruits" podcast, Julia Fox described herself as a "diehard, OG" fan of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." Said the actress, "I'm gonna miss 'Keeping Up.' I've been watching 'Keeping Up' since it first came out in like 2007 when, like, watching it was embarrassing." She also explained what about the Kardashian clan appeals to her — "I wanted them to be my family," she admitted — and expressed sadness over Khloe Kardashian's latest split from off-and-on love Tristan Thompson amid another cheating scandal.
She's a new mom In January 2021, Julia Fox gave birth to her first child — son Valentino — with then-husband Peter Artemiev. (They're now estranged — more on that next!) She delivered her baby boy early due to "some blood pressure issues," she revealed on Instagram the following month. "My forever valentine, Valentino. Born on January 17th, 2021. The best day of my life," she captioned a photo from her maternity photo shoot.
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She's not on good terms with her son's father In December 2021, Julia Fox took aim at her estranged husband, Peter Artemiev, on her Instagram Story: "Have you seen this dead beat dad?" she scrawled across a photo of the pilot. "He can be found at most strip clubs. … Please remind him that he has a child to take care of! Oh and if you chill with him knowing he is a dead beat alcoholic drug addict dad, you are not my friend and I will call you out too!!!" Continued the actress-artist, "I just don't want my son [messed] up cause he feels like his dad was absent or loved alcohol and partying more than him. … This man would wake up at 4pm. My son goes to sleep at 7! It's the holidays; have a heart and see your kids! This man left me with a 5 month old and a dog and a home and ALL THE BILLS. It's wrong! It's not fair!" When a follower suggested that her outburst could negatively impact her acting career, Julia fired back, "This is my son's life we are talking about — I don't [care] about my 'acting career.' My son loves his dad. I've accepted that his dad refuses to [be] present, and I've made peace with it." She concluded by calling Peter "dangerous." The pilot, meanwhile, released a statement to Page Six refuting Julia's claims about him: "I was saddened to learn of the utterly false statements made on social media by Julia Fox, my co-parent, who is clearly struggling. Out of respect for her privacy and to protect our child, I will not comment further," he said. Julia later expressed regret over how she handled the situation, telling The Cut, "I wanted to scare him into being a better dad, but I went about it the wrong way. My son's dad loves his son more than anything in the world. He just has some issues that I shouldn't have made public."
Public drama with an ex isn't new for her Back in 2015, Julia Fox called the cops on her then-boyfriend, Happy Ending owner and manager Teddy Perweiler, when he allegedly assaulted her in the nightclub's kitchen. According to a Page Six source, "he dragged her across the room, knocked her drink out of her hand … threw her in the kitchen" and "slammed her head into this metal kitchen appliance" after he saw her talking to another man. Added a law enforcement source, "He pulled her hair and said, 'I should slap the s*** out of you!' He then grabbed her $800 phone, cracked it in two pieces and tossed it into the garbage. … He was charged with harassment and criminal mischief." According to a police report, he was also charged with misdemeanor assault. Although a judge issued a temporary order of protection barring him from coming near Julia — and he was even banned from his own club — he initially denied the allegations against him. Julia, who'd invested in the club, was also banned from the venue. After the court dismissed the case against Teddy, Julia told Page Six, "Everyone deserves a second chance at life. I don't hate him. I just wish he didn't treat me like garbage for so long. I wish him all the best, and I hope he can get the help he needs to deal with his inner demons."
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She actually served as the inspiration for her character in "Uncut Gems"
Julia Fox made her feature film debut in the 2019 Safdie brothers drama "Uncut Gems." She starred opposite Adam Sandler as Julia De Fiore — his character's employee and girlfriend. She actually inspired the role: According to a 2020 profile in Rolling Stone, "she met the Safdies 'in passing,' followed them on social media, started up a dialogue" with them and then got a call saying they were making a movie and wanted her to play the female lead. But the studio thought the part should go to someone famous. So Julia set out to prove them wrong. "[Josh Safdie] would hit me up every few months and ask me for suggestions on the character," she recalled. "Of course, I molded her to be what I wanted her to be, which conveniently was also what Josh wanted her to be. … I knew I wanted to be in the film industry. And I'm not one to wait for things to be handed to me." And so the character Sadie became Julia De Fiore, and the real Julia scored a nomination for the Gotham Independent Film Award for breakthrough performer.
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"Uncut Gems" marked her acting debut Julia Fox was very green when she starred in "Uncut Gems." In 2019, she told ELLE she'd underestimated the size of the production: "When I got to set the first day and I saw 200 people, I was like, 'Oh… This is a major movie.' I thought it was just going to be us and the homies." She watched the film for the first time when it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 2019. "I went into the theater a nobody. And as soon as the movie was over, everyone was looking at me, and suddenly it was like, 'Oh, the news is out,'" she told Rolling Stone the following year, noting that she then booked an agent and started taking acting classes.
She scored another major acting gig in 2021
"Uncut Gems" was just the beginning for Julia Fox. In 2021, she was part of the ensemble cast — which also included Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Brendan Fraser and Kieran Culkin — of the Steven Soderbergh-directed HBO Max period crime-thriller "No Sudden Move."
She had an unusual, bicontinental childhood
According to Rolling Stone, Julia Fox was born to an Italian mother and an American father who called it quits not long after she arrived. While her mom finished college and her dad lived on a boat off the coast of New York City, Julia lived with her grandfather in Sirona — a "very quaint, very sheltered" town outside Milan, Italy. Around the age of 6 — once she started "getting to be a lot to handle" — she moved to NYC with her dad, who'd settled down and moved into an apartment in Yorkville. "The first thing he did when I moved to America is he brought me to the corner of our apartment building and he pointed to the street signs, and he was like, 'This is where you live. So whatever happens, just remember to come back here.' And I was like, 'OK.' Then he sent me off into the world," she recalled. She bounced back and forth between New York and Italy throughout her teen years.
Her teen years were (very) rough According to Rolling Stone, Julia Fox got arrested for shoplifting at Bloomingdale's when she was a teenager. In 2020, she explained to the magazine of growing up near Manhattan, "You're seeing this really extravagant display of wealth, and you're trying to look like that, but you have to do it by stealing." When she was just 13 or 14, she frequently sneaked out of her New York City apartment building by climbing down a fire escape to go clubbing in her stolen clothes.
Her relationship with Bloomingdale's is … ironic In 2020, Julia Fox starred in a series of videos for Bloomingdale's. Yep, the same department store she shoplifted from as a teen paid her to star in an ad campaign. "That was really full circle," she told Rolling Stone later that year.
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Her first love was a drug dealer
When she was a teenager, Julia Fox ran away from home with a boyfriend who was "a drug dealer" and "had his own place," she told Rolling Stone in 2020. (Because she split her time between New York City and Italy, it took her family nearly a month to realize she was missing. "Then I had to hide. There were 'missing' posters all over the city," she told the magazine.) In 2018, she opened up about her ex on Instagram: "He was my first love. I was 14 when we met at a drug dealer's house a few blocks away from where I grew up. We took ecstasy the first night, hooked up, and a few minutes later he was on the phone with his mom telling her he had met the love of his life," she wrote. "Later we went to St. Marks and got these tattoos. At the time, no one else existed. Just us. No future. No past. Just now. I was a runaway and he was all I had. Our bond was so raw and so passionate and so beautifully dysfunctional. I was still learning what Love was — learning who I was. I never knew healthy love and wasn't even aware that I was in a [messed up] situation. But none of that matters now. I found a letter he wrote me from prison yesterday and it read: 'You're 16 now and I can't wait to see what a beautiful woman you will become.' And it hit me that I am that woman now and I've come SO far from that lost little girl. Even though this man was terrible for me, there would be no me without him. I hated him for so long but now I'm wise enough to see that he gave me the most special gift. He's the reason I met [friend and former business partner Briana Andalore] and I will forever love him for it."
She worked as a dominatrix when she was still in high school
During a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, Julia Fox opened up about working as a dominatrix when she was just a teenager: "This was back when Craigslist still had an 'adult gigs' section. I was scrolling, and in between ads for prostitutes, I clicked on one that said no nudity, no sex. That appealed to me," she recalled, adding that the job helped her learn about acting and improvisation because "there's no script." Explained the brunette beauty, "You're given a few words on what the client's interests are and then you have to build from there and improvise the rest. So imagine having to do that multiple times a day in different outfits — a nun, teacher, nurse, mom — according to the clients' desires." Concluded Julia of the job, "I went in an angsty teenager, and left a really self-assured woman."
During her artist phase, she painted with her own blood
Her 2017 art show "R.I.P. Julia Fox" featured images painted from her very own blood. "I wanted the show to be as authentic and personal as possible. I extracted the blood with a syringe and used the syringe to paint on the silk. It wasn't as bad as it seems," she told HuffPost. "I love the way blood bleeds on to fabrics. I think the color is mesmerizing. I chose the silk because it's so feminine in that it is delicate but at the same time it's so strong and hard to tear through. I feel like blood is so precious and it's only right that it be displayed on a fabric which is just as precious." She's also reportedly published two books of photography: 2015's "Symptomatic of a Relationship Gone Sour: Heartburn/Nausea" and 2016's "PTSD."
She's had several near-death experiences
"I've always been fascinated with death," Julia Fox told HuffPost in 2017. "I've had a few near-death experiences. In one particular instance, I saw the infamous tunnel of light and felt my spirit elevate from my human body and shoot into space. I guess I've always wondered where I was going. I've always been curious. Subconsciously putting myself in dangerous situations. Perhaps because I would like to revisit that place."
She's also a fashion designer
In early 2014, Julia Fox and her best friend, Briana Andalore, launched the knitwear line Franziska Fox. "I really wished to propose a novel concept for knitwear, a form of dressing that I am most passionate about, and also to have a collection that is unafraid within today's fashion landscape, in regards to the female form and intellect. I think those are the two focal points for the label," she told ELLE later that year. The brand's motto? This Françoise Sagan quote: "A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you." Kylie Jenner and Rumer Willis were photographed rocking the brand during its heyday.
She's an aspiring filmmaker
"I feel as an artist, making a movie is the top of the food chain — that's the peak, the climax of everything," Julia Fox told ELLE in late 2019. Earlier that year, she submitted her first short film — "Fantasy Girls," which centers around an underage prostitution ring in Reno — to various film festivals. "The premise is that they're on lockdown because there's a predator on the loose and he's kidnapping girls, but they find a flyer to a talent show. The whole movie is them preparing for this talent show, and then they make it there and it turns out it's at a strip club. These girls are trying to preserve their youth and innocence in a town where that's just not doable," she told ELLE. She also told Paper magazine that "directing and producing" are her "real passion." Said the brunette beauty, "I would love to direct a TV show or a movie. … That's the dream: to have a TV show on Netflix or something."