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Inside The Extravagant & Controversial Life Of Late Australian Businessman, Geoffrey Edelsten

Edelsten, a former medical practitioner and Sydney Swans owner, passed away on June 11.

On June 11, 2021, Australian businessman Geoffrey Edeleston passed away at the age of 78, found in his Melbourne home in St Kilda. While friends of the late medical entrepreneur told The Herald Sun that he had spent much of the final months of his life as a “recluse”, many will remember Edelston for his controversial and extravagant life, which consisted of such endeavours as becoming the first Australian medical practitioner to introduce bulk-billing, saving the Sydney Swans in the ’80s, all alongside a string of young socialite wives in flashy cars with license plates that read: Macho, Spunky and Sexy. 

Below, take a look back at the colourful life of the late Geoffrey Edelston. 

Edelsten’s Lavish & Over-The-Top Lifestyle Quickly Caught Media Attention. 

While Edelsten started his career as one of Australia’s most defining (and controversial) medical practitioners, it was his habit for the finer things in life that would morph the businessman into one of the nation’s most intriguing media characters. 

Upon gaining his residency at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Edelston set his sights on private practice, opening up his first in the northern New South Wales town of Walgett. Eventually making the move to Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Edelston opened up a new medical practice alongside colleague Tom Wenkart, founding the medical company Preventicare.

But it wasn’t until the 1980s, when Medicare was set up by the Hawke government, that Edelston would begin to gain notoriety. Opening up a string of first-of-its-kind 24-hour medical centres, Edelston’s venture became best known for its lavish finishes, complete with chandeliers, white grand pianos, and mink-covered examination tables. On top of its grand designs, Edelston’s clinics were notable as the first in Australia to bulk-bill patients. 

Geoffrey Edelsten
Geoffrey Edelsten, 1988

Edelsten, A Self-Described “White Knight”, Saves The Sydney Swans. 

After the success of his medical practices, which were booming all across the nation, Edelsten took his business know-how to another industry: the AFL. 

In 1985, the businessman became the first private owner of a major Australian football team, the Sydney Swans, and according to The Canberra Timesdescribed himself as a “white knight” for saving the team from extinction. A year later, he attempted to purchase the Cronulla Sharks rugby league team, only was refused by the organisation. 

The Medical Entrepreneur’s Flashy Lifestyle Comes Crashing Down.

Years into his flashy lifestyle as one of Australia’s most notable media personalities, Edelsten’s life would come crashing down in 1988 when he was removed from the New South Wales medical register for using unqualified staff in his practices. Following the controversy, Edelesten was later convicted for hiring well-known hit-man, Christopher Dale Flannery, to assault a former patient, and spent time in jail for the crime in the ’90s. 

Edelsten’s Relationship History Kept The Media Coming Back. 

While Edelsten’s medical career had crashed and burned, with the businessman filing for bankruptcy in both Australia and the U.S, it was his string of young and beautiful wives that kept the media interested in his lavish lifestyle. 

Edelsten was first married to Leanne Nesbitt, a model, and after their three-year marriage ended, he met American fitness instructor Brynne Gordon, when she was 40 years his junior. Many will remember the pair’s reported $3 million wedding, held at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, with guests like Jason Alexander (aka George Costanza in Seinfeld) and The Nanny’s Fran Drescher in attendance. 

The pair split five years later, with Brynne claiming their marriage had failed due to his “addiction to dating sites.” 

Just mere months later, Edelsten announced his engagement to American model Gabi Grecko, who was 46 years his junior. The couple, while relatively private, had made many memorable appearances over the years, including at the 2014 Melbourne Cup, an event where Edelsten, surrounded by cameras, got down on one knee to propose (despite the couple already having shared plans to wed). 

Geoffrey Edelsten with Brynne Edelsten (L), Gabi Grecko with Geoffrey Edelsteon (R)

The 32-year-old widow has not issued a formal statement on her husband’s death, and instead shared with social media fans that she was “not ready to comment.”

Tributes Pour In For The Late Businessman. 

Despite his relatively controversial life, tributes have poured in for Edelsten, including from members of the Sydney Swans team and his second wife Brynne. 

“Brynne and Geoffrey enjoyed some truly beautiful moments, including their wedding in 2009,” a statement from the fitness instructor said. “While their marriage ended after 5 years together, Brynne remains grateful for the good times the couple shared and is deeply saddened and shocked to hear the news of his passing.”

Greg Williams, a former AFL player, spoke with 3AW to share his thoughts on Edelsten’s passing. 

“He was a great man Geoffrey,” he said, per “People had an opinion of him but he was a lot different than the actual opinion. He was a great guy with a great heart and he loved the Swans even though he barracked for Carlton.” 

CNN journalist Amy Croffey said: “Very sorry to hear this news, I had many a colourful conversation with Geoffrey Edelsten, including on his wedding day to Gabi Grecko. May he Rest In Peace in one of his eccentric, OTT suits.”

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