Tricia Romano on Modern Family star Sofia Vergara’s mysterious wealthy playboy fiancé, Nicholas Loeb, who just can’t catch a break.
Last week, Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara made headlines after a New Year’s Eve scuffle involving her breasts and her boyfriends (past and current). Vergara was out in a Miami Beach hotspot partially owned by former beau and ex-mobster Chris Paciello, when she found herself in the middle of a drunken scuffle involving overeager patrons and her fiancé, Nick Loeb, which resulted in his quick ejection from the club.
Faster than you could say “Jes!,” the actress and her current flame were making the headlines of the gossip rags. While Vergara is nearly a household name thanks to her ABC sitcom, her boyfriend—at least to folks outside of Miami—is fast becoming a favorite punching bag of blogs and gossip rags.
In addition to last week’s dustup, he caught flak for being less than helpful when she had a major wardrobe malfunction at the Emmy Awards, with reports swirling that he was annoyed and hapless when her dress split, revealing her butt.
“He’s sort of a goober. You know? The goober who follows Sofia Vergara around and he can’t do anything right,” said Jose Lambiet, Miami Herald columnist and publisher of Gossip Extra, who has been writing about the South Florida social scene since 1998. “During the Emmys she had this wardrobe malfunction where her ass came out of her dress and he got slammed for not helping her.” (At press time, attempts to reach Loeb were unanswered.)
It shouldn’t be this way. He’s got everything going for him. Tall, dark, and handsome with an olive complexion and watery blue eyes, Loeb comes from a well-heeled family. His father is the former ambassador to Denmark under the Reagan administration, John Loeb Jr., and his cousin is Edgar Bronfman Jr., the Seagrams magnate and former CEO of Warner Music Group. His grandfather, John Loeb Sr., was a philanthropist, who—according to The New York Times—gave about $200 million at the time of his death in 1996 to various cultural and nonprofit institutions—culled from profits earned from his Wall Street firm of Loeb, Rhoades & Company. The younger Loeb went to Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business, where he got a bachelor’s degree in management and finance.
But despite his bona fides, his career hasn’t reached the dizzying heights of his father or grandfather.
Lambiet described Loeb as a “trust funder.” “I don’t think he’s worked a day in his life although he tries,” he said. “He dabbles. He dabbles right now in fried onions.”
Only 37, Loeb has had as many lives as a cat: he’s recently been hawking his current enterprise, Onion Crunch, a condiment produced by his own company, Loeb’s Foods, on television shows like Good Day L.A., but before that he’d tried his hands at politics, producing, and acting.
After college, he reportedly used his family connections to get a job working for Mike Nichols on Primary Colors. Shortly after, he produced and had a small part in a B-list straight-to-video movie called The Smokers, starring Dominique Swain, Thora Birch, and Busy Phillips as three women who wanted to rape men for revenge.
After his movie career failed to take off, Loeb tried his hand at politics—unsuccessfully—several times. In 20011, he was rumored to be pursuing a state senate seat in Florida, where he is a resident of Delray Beach, a town of 60,000 people, an hour north of Miami, where he lives in a modest (for-a-millionaire, anyway) house. (Though his father’s name is on the title, the home is for sale: a New York Times report states the asking price at $2.4 million, describing it as having a private beach with a “lush oversized lot,” “soaring ceilings,” and “fantastic views” of Lake Ida.)
In 2005, he ran for Delray Beach City Commission and lost. He ran in 2009 for state senate, even convincing Rudy Giuliani to host a fundraiser. But he aborted the run soon after his then-wife, Swedish blonde Anna Pettersson, a poor man’s Elin Nordegren, was picked up for a DUI at 3 a.m, after leaving sleazy local joint, the Ugly Mug. She filed for divorce soon afterward, probably not the fairy tale ending that Town & Country envisioned when it covered their lavish wedding in Sweden.
A year later, Loeb started dating the Modern Family star, but just a few months into their courtship, he crashed and burned in a car accident in Los Angeles in August of 2010. He needed several months to recuperate from pretty serious injuries, including a pelvic fracture, a broken leg, and a sliced chest. And Vergara, ever the faithful girlfriend, nursed him back to health. The next year, People magazine reported that the two had split.
But they were back together by the time the rumors again began swirling that he was going to pursue the state senate seat in 2011. “He actually called a press conference to tell people he was not running,” said Lambiet.
“With every fiber in me I want to run this race,” said Loeb at the press conference at the Sagamore Hotel. “Unfortunately, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate. I am still in pain and not physically up to the rigors of the campaign let alone serve as a U.S. senator.”
Though he’s not in politics anymore, he’s still flexing his political connections: it was reported that he hosted Boca Raton hedge funder Marc Leder—the man who hosted the private fundraiser for Mitt Romney where he made the infamous “47 percent” comments—for dinner during the holidays.
While most of the negative press surrounding Loeb has been relatively mild, Loeb did have one tawdry story about him in the National Enquirer this summer, claiming that he spent thousands of dollars on several “Viagra-fueled, cocaine-laced orgies” while Vergara was supposedly texting him—a report that he vehemently denied. He told the press: “I am mortified that false illicit behavior has been attributed to me. It’s hurtful and unfair. My first priority is to protect the people I love, and I hope they are not impacted by these lies and irresponsible reports.”
“This is a guy who’s trying, still now, to find his way. And he’s almost 40 years old. But that’s typical of fairly idle rich in Palm Beach County,” said Lambiet, who characterized him as “a wannabe.” “A wannabe in everything. A wannabe producer, a wannabe actor, a wannabe politician, a wannabe rich guy. He can’t even do the rich guy well because it’s only $1.9 million dollar house.”
But Loeb has managed one thing successfully: Less than a month after the Enquirer story ran, during Vergara’s 40th birthday celebration in Mexico, he proposed, and the star accepted.
Still, while he might be a “wannabe,” and a “goober,” according to Lambiet, and an alleged lothario, but at least he’s not a murderer, unlike Vergara’s former flame, Chris Paciello, who was convicted of murder for his part as the getaway driver and coordinator of the robbery of housewife Judith Shemtov that went fatally awry. Paciello received a light sentence in exchange for his cooperation with the feds. Compared to Paciello, Loeb is a verifiable catch.
“You know what? I got a soft spot for Nick,” said Lambiet. “I don’t think he’s that bad. I think he’s just … a goofball.”