12/4 UPDATE: After initially posting this bio, BravoWatch was contacted by Sonja Morgan herself who corrected some of the information originally sourced from around the web. A big THANKS to Sonja for taking the time to set the record straight! And, STAY TUNED for our EXCLUSIVE interview with Sonja when we’ll ask her about RHONY Season 6 and some of the topics discussed below!!
Spicing up The Real Housewives of New York City since Season 3, Sonja Morgan is a self-described lifestyle entrepreneur, single mother, luxury brand consultant, writer, producer, event planner, entertainer and philanthropist. And, let’s not forget about toaster-oven aficionado!
RHONY fans probably know her best as the loyal party-girl bestie of Ramona Singer.
She’s lived a life of both luxury and hard work and experienced some of the highest heights of success as well as the sting of possibly losing it all due to a marriage and movie deal gone sour. You may think you know who Sonja Morgan is, but read on to find out.
Sonja Morgan was born November 25, 1963 in Albany, NY, as Sonja Tremont, the product of a single mother who raised 4 children. She moved to New York City and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in marketing. After traveling the world as a model and living in California, France, and Colorado, Sonja made her home in NYC
Sonja used her marketing degree to establish herself as more than your average hostess at New York hotspot San Pietro, an upscale Italian restaurant, which she filled with impressive regulars such as Donald Trump, Barbara Walters and Martha Stewart. “And they all know Sonja”, according to a Quest Magazine profile from 1994, Sonja Tremont was already quite the socialite. “They see her at the Grammy’s, or at the Trump wedding, or at the Red Cross Ball in Monaco (seated next to her pal Prince Albert), or at parties at Le Club or at the Irish Derby, or at Larry Gagosian’s in the Hamptons.” Sonja was very well known among the New York money men and power brokers for being good looking, savvy and with a go-get-em charm, even earning the title “the straw that stirs the drink” from John Mariani. She dated rock & roll royalty and royalty itself but it was a man named John Morgan who won her heart.
John was one of the people she met during her San Pietro days. 33-years her senior, John has a pretty impressive family tree. He is is one of five sons of Henry Sturgis Morgan, a great-grandson of J. Pierpont Morgan, the greatest American financier of the Gilded Age (you may have heard of JP Morgan, the financial institution? Morgan Stanley is also an establishment of his lineage.) His mother, Catherine Adams, is a great-great-granddaughter of John Adams, the second President of the United States.
Years after Sonja’s tenure at San Pietro ended, she ran into John again while skiing in Aspen. According to the New York Social Diary:
“Not long after they dined. Forty-five minutes into the dinner, she realized she really never knew anything about the kind of man he was. She knew the Morgan part from long ago but now she was meeting an outdoorsy kind of guy, who liked to ski and sail. She had values like, or talked the same language as, people she’d grown up with. He asked her to marry him that night.”
A few months later, they were married. The marriage gave John an opportunity to get out and about and Sonja felt she’d found her life. The couple lived it up with a yacht in St. Bart’s, houseguests on the island in Connecticut, a ranch in Telluride, a house in the South of France, a townhouse in Manhattan. A daughter was born and, according to Sonja, they had a wonderful family life.
Whatever went wrong, it happened quickly for Sonja. She was served with papers. She said she later learned he had been having an affair with her best friend.
Since then, she’s had more than her share of bad luck. She has a $7 million judgment out against her after she backed out of a film production deal which she entered while still married (her husband was on the board of her company) and was eventually forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy…to the tune of $17 million in debt. What people may not realize is that this includes her ex husband’s mortgages as well. Those are the rules. To date, Sonja has received NO divorce settlement from her ex. But, it’s onwards and upwards for Sonja who isn’t waiting for the other shoe of her ex to drop. She is developing her businesses and setting an example for her daughter by working hard and being independent. Sonja has addressed both her bankruptcy and divorce dealings on The Real Housewives.
As it turns out, Sonja owns her home in France outright as well as a home in New York. She told me her assets are in excess of what she owes. At this point, that’s the $7 million settlement and even that is far from ‘settled’ yet. Page 6 recently wrote that she may even be off the $7 million hook.
Whatever happens financially, we know Sonja is pushing forward. Despite some serious ups and downs, Sonja always seems to demonstrate resiliency and an optimistic outlook. Last season on The Real Housewives of New York, we saw her working on her businesses. She is working on both her event planning business, Sonja in the City, and her toaster-oven, which turned out to be a major source of conflict between her and newbie Heather Thomson. (Heather offered to help with branding strategy and a box design but she and Sonja did not see eye-to-eye.)
It’s anybody’s guess what Season 6 of The Real Housewives of New York will hold for Sonja Morgan but I, for one, can’t wait to find out!!