Real-life drama behind the scenes of Aquamamma

Bates, 42, was often spotted driving his $300,000 Mercedes-Benz SUV around the Wategos Beach enclave of millionaires. A regular on the Sydney and Byron Bay social scene for years, he was Sydney’s publicity maven Roxy Jacenko‘s school formal date decades ago.

Described by former friends as espousing a carefully cultivated aura of a high-flying svengali, Bates was well-known for lavishing his girlfriends with expensive gifts, racking up expensive lunch bills at his neighborhood watering hole, the swanky Rae’s at Wategos Beach, where he was known to order multiple bottles of Krug champagne and giant tubs of caviar. Potential investors, some of whom handed over hundreds of thousands of dollars, were hooked.

Watego’s Beach in Byron Bay.Credit:Peter Braig

PS spotted them among the wealthy guests dressed in all-white at the exclusive Paspaley jewelery party in 2019 at the luxurious Qualia resort on Hamilton Island, where they sipped vintage champagne and fondled million-dollar pearl necklaces, festooned in rubies, diamonds and emeralds.

But friends told PS it all proved too much for mother-of-two Gibson, 35, the daughter of Hostplus superannuation board director David Gibson. Their relationship ended in March. Last October she paid more than $4 million for a terrace house in Paddington where she now resides with her young children from a previous marriage.

Bates, a former advertising executive, is understood to be renting in Bondi.

It’s all a far cry from when Bates sat in an obstetrician’s office with the mother of his first child over a decade ago trying to make out the shape of their unborn child on the ultrasound monitor as he dreamed up a business opportunity.

Robert Bates and Emma Gibson in Byron Bay in 2020.

Robert Bates and Emma Gibson in Byron Bay in 2020.Credit:Paul Harris

Bates went into business with the obstetrician, Rob Buistto create a hydration supplement for pregnant women.

Gibson became the public face of the product and has so far borne the brunt of the latest fallout.

Bates met Gibson in Hong Kong six years ago when she was running the VistaJet private aviation business and Bates was a regular customer. She started working for his 7 Trinity Biotech business in Sydney, the Singapore-registered parent company of Aquamamma, which also supplies a host of other wellness products.

One of those products is another powder supplement called Aurum+ which supposedly treats mental health conditions. PS has learned that a string of wealthy investors, including Bates’ former Wategos neighbors, are now pursuing him for the return of hundreds of thousands of dollars, one threatening legal action before getting his investment back.

Bates declined to comment on “confidential” investor relations.

Bates told them AFR when the couple was inducted into the rich list about a “little side bet” on the success of Aurum+ and Aquamamma he had with Gibson: “First one to $1 billion valuation pays for the next holiday.”

Gibson later clarified the loser had to buy a case of their favorite wine, Burgundy’s La Tache.

PS found the wine selling online yesterday for $12,650 … a bottle.

Not everyone needs good Neighbours

Missing in action: former Neighbors star Kimberley Davies.

Missing in action: former Neighbors star Kimberley Davies.

Craig McLachlan was reportedly “snubbed” and fans wondered why Kylie Minogue duck Jason Donovan barely uttered a word in the Neighbors finale on Thursday night. But where was the ’90s bombshell Kimberley Davieswithout question one of the biggest stars in the series?

PS hears Davies has politely declined offers to participate in the Neighbors nostalgia, more interested in focusing on her Melbourne decorating business and raising her family with her model-turned-doctor husband Jason Harvey.

Pop star in disguise

The original Liam Gallagher.

The original Liam Gallagher.Credit:Getty

While Liam Gallagher bemoaned his missing half-star in Herald reviewer George Palathingal‘s three-and-a-half star rating of his Sydney concert last Saturdayhe might want to make himself a bit better known to our city’s band of paparazzi.

Indeed, Gallagher wasn’t even recognized by one snapper who passed the Oasis frontman outside the Park Hyatt last weekend. Ironically, the “pap” wasn’t there for the ’90s pop star, but rather to capture a shot of Kim Kardashian‘s boyfriend Pete Davidsonwho happened to be staying in the same hotel as Gallagher while in Australia shooting a film.

Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson at the Met Gala in May.

Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson at the Met Gala in May.Credit:AP

Aussies fly flag Europe

Today co-host Karl Stefanovicwife Jasmine and baby daughter Harper were making the most of James Packer‘s $250 million superyacht as it set anchor on the Cote d’Azur on their family Euro holiday this week.

Over in Corsica, it was the Lowe’s heiress Linda Penn and her family, including social fixture son Joshwho took a very un-discounted fashion approach to deck wear aboard their floating palace this week, the entire extended family wearing what appeared to be a full suite of Dolce & Gabbana resort wear.

They didn't get it at Lowes.  Retail heiress Linda Penn (second from right) with her extended family dressed in Dolce & Gabbana in Corsica this week.

They didn’t get it at Lowes. Retail heiress Linda Penn (second from right) with her extended family dressed in Dolce & Gabbana in Corsica this week.Credit:Instagram

Larry and Sylvie Emdur in Greece this week.

Larry and Sylvie Emdur in Greece this week.Credit:Instagram

While not quite on the same scale, celebrity accountant Anthony Bell’s new boat was chartered by a posse of Aussies in Greece including Bell’s good mate and publican Peter Calligeros and his wife, property heiress Sacha Rosewho got busy testing out the new Ghost III, which PS has recently reported on.

Let them eat grapes: Lisa and Grant Vandenberg in Greece this week.

Let them eat grapes: Lisa and Grant Vandenberg in Greece this week.Credit:Facebook

Among the lively gang from Sydney living it up were Grant “Mr Fixit” Vandenberg being fed grapes by his wife Lisa in between dancing on chairs, Terry Biviano and hubby, footy great Anthony MinichielloBell’s long-time gal pal and veteran bikini model Laura Csortan and television personality Larry Emdur (wearing a buff torso print on his ‘muscle’ with great effect) with his wife Sylvie.

Terry Biviano (left) flying the Sydney flag with Sacha Rose in Greece.

Terry Biviano (left) flying the Sydney flag with Sacha Rose in Greece.Credit:Facebook

Kidding on the catwalk

Forms Sydney runway model, MasterChef contestant and red carpet fixture Michelle Walsh swears she was only kidding when she joked on Facebook about a return to the catwalk as one of masked models who walked with Nicole Kidman duck Kim Kardashian in the Balenciaga show in Paris a few weeks back.

Not Michelle Walsh: A masked model in the recent Balenciaga fashion show in Paris.

Not Michelle Walsh: A masked model in the recent Balenciaga fashion show in Paris.

But at least one hapless gossip blogger is reporting it as fact. “It’s taken on a life of its own,” Walsh told PS this week. “I better buy a bloody mask!”

Only joking: Martin and Michelle Walsh.

Only joking: Martin and Michelle Walsh.Credit:Belinda Rolland

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