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The Women Behind Franz Beckenbauer: A Look at the Influential Women in the “Emperor’s” Life

Perhaps Franz Beckenbauer’s greatest love was football. But as the saying goes: behind every successful man there is a strong woman. A saying that definitely applies in Franz Beckenbauer’s case. Four women in particular shaped the life and work of the “Emperor”.

Brigitte Wittmann

Always in the fast lane – even in your private life. Father for the first time at 18, married for the first time at 21. Franz Beckenbauer’s life also made headlines beyond the football field.

His son Thomas was born in 1963 from a teenage love affair. The relationship with the child’s mother Ingrid Grönke broke down, and three years later Franz Beckenbauer brought another person to the altar: Brigitte Wittmann.

With the secretary of the same age, the footballer had two more sons: Michael and Stephan. The couple later brought Franz’s firstborn with them.

At just 23 years old, Franz Beckenbauer was already head of a family of five. Fans and the press loved the football hero’s family idyll. Brigitte and Franz knew how to put themselves in the spotlight and quickly became the glamor couple of the German sports scene – the Beckhams of the 60s and 70s.

But in 1977 everything was over. The “Emperor” fell in love with someone else – and thus triggered a Germany-wide scandal. The image of the sports hero began to crack.

Diana Sandman

In the 1970s she was alone in the field: As a sports photographer, Diana Sandmann knew how to prove herself in what was then a purely male domain – a career that perhaps also impressed Franz Beckenbauer.

The two met at the wedding of Beckenbauer manager Robert Schwan. In the ARD documentary “Beckenbauer – Legend of German Football” Diana Sandmann remembers the first meeting. What did she particularly like about Franz? His walk.

Their love shocked all of Germany at the time: Diana Sandmann was blamed for the failure of Franz Beckenbauer’s marriage. Even the greengrocer didn’t want to serve her anymore. “Because you don’t sell anything to a whore,” said Diana Sandmann in the ARD documentary. Her father was also worried at the time. He wasn’t happy that his only daughter was falling in love with a married father of three.

Franz Beckenbauer escaped the negative press to the USA to join the “Cosmos New York” club, and Diana Sandmann followed him.

The relationship with Diana Sandmann withstood a few storms – at least until 1988. The separation was “very, very painful”. Even today, she describes Franz Beckenbauer as her “heart.”

Sybille Weimar

Franz Beckenbauer and Diana Sandmann never dared to step in front of the altar. It wasn’t until Sybille Weimar that the “Kaiser” said “yes” again in 1990.

Franz Beckenbauer met his second wife at the German Football Association, where she worked as a secretary. Sybille suddenly and without preparation threw her relationship onto the German celebrity stage – a position that she always struggled with at the beginning. She often felt lonely at events.

The couple separated in 2002 – a difficult time for Franz Beckenbauer. In 2002, his manager, companion and “best friend” Robert Schwan also died – a loss that hit Franz Beckenbauer hard.

In an emotional Instagram post, Sybille Weimar now remembers her late ex-husband: “You were a great person! A great personality, a lovable and loving person.”

2024-01-13 06:35:45
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