The Billionaire, The Butler and the Boyfriend Season 1 Review – Big money, big drama, big scandal!

By Romey Norton
Published: November 8, 2023 (Last updated: November 16, 2023)
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The Billionaire, The Butler and the Boyfriend Season 1
The Billionaire, The Butler and the Boyfriend Season 1 | Image via Netflix


A scandal of the super-rich. An in-depth, intense look into the L’Oréal heiress’s life, and the national scandal with her daughter and photographer François-Marie Banier.

We all love a bit of family drama, right? The French Netflix documentary series The Billionaire, The Butler and the Boyfriend sees a seriously tense conflict between the world’s wealthiest woman and her daughter, and how this then turns into a national scandal. It’s a scandal of the super-rich and is seriously compelling to watch. 

The drama is centered around a late French businesswoman, Liliane Bettencourt, and her daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, who once were the principal shareholders in the beauty business L’Oréal. While they portrayed a seemingly perfect life, the family did battle some not-so-secret conspiracy theories. Over three episodes this documentary series unravels the mystery behind Liliane’s relationship with Francois-Marie Banier (a photographer) and the torment it inflicted upon the Bettencourts’ lives. 

Directed by Baptiste Etchegaray and Maxime Bonnet, this docuseries showcases intense wealth, with the underlying theme that money doesn’t buy happiness and at times, is useless. It’s a story of trust. There is one significant recording in the series that showcases the real intentions of the people that surrounded Liliane — and this is just another sad story of how a vulnerable woman was taken advantage of by those close to her for money.

The Billionaire, The Butler and the Boyfriend Season 1 review and plot summary

There’s a lot more drama in this series, more than I expected; there’s everything, from a jewelry incident to tax evasion, and Banier even asks Liliane to adopt him to inherit all of her wealth, which tips her daughter over the edge. 

Through interviews with friends, family, financial experts, journalists, lawyers, and more, audiences get a detailed insight into the family, their history, and the motives behind their actions. There are photos, videos, and voice recordings from Liliane about her life and relationships.

We learn she was probably very lonely, and bored, and was then totally enthralled by Banier, an exciting, talented photographer, who made her feel comfortable and at ease. He’s described as being direct and came into her life like a wrecking ball — his excessiveness was refreshing. We see how and why the L’Oréal heiress became close friends with Banier and was appointed her chief benefactor, embellishing him with expensive gifts that nearly cost her €1.3 billion. Their friendship lasted over twenty years, and throughout this, it’s said Liliane paid for everything, from flights to food to expensive artworks he’d recommended. However, the duo kept this under wraps for decades until Liliane’s daughter lodged a complaint against Banier.

Françoise raised her voice against Banier and accused him of exploiting her elderly mother’s weaknesses. Calling him a predator, she was hell-bent on getting rid of him, and any other freeloaders around her mother, but outing this relationship caused harm to her mother’s reputation and estates. Allowing recordings to go public, she and multiple French elites went under fire for tax fraud. Not only this, but through the recordings of Bettencourt’s butler, Pascal Bonnefoy, we learn more deep, dark family secrets, which include their antisemitic opinions (even towards her grandson). 

Towards the end of the third and final episode, the documentary goes through what and who was taken to court — and who got off and who was sentenced. It’s an interesting but not entirely fulfilling conclusion.

In the end, this could happen to anyone, to any family, but what makes this interesting and worthy of Netflix is it happened to world’s wealthiest family.

Liliane Bettencourt

Liliane Bettencourt | Image via Netflix

Is The Billionaire, The Butler, and the Boyfriend based on a true story?

Yes, The Billionaire, The Butler, and the Boyfriend is based on a true story.

The late French businesswoman, Liliane Bettencourt, and Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, on whom the documentary is based, are mother and daughter in real life. This documentary portrays the 2007 scandal involving Liliane Bettencourt, Françoise, and a celebrity photographer, François-Marie Banier.

The information given is factual, including the final verdicts and convictions. People interviewed all knew the family in some capacity or were experts working on the case. 

What did you think of The Billionaire, The Butler, and the Boyfriend Season 1? Comment below.


Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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