'It was great to have Steve in prison': Ex-wife of disgraced fashion icon Madden says their marriage crumbled due to his 'obsession' over women's shoes

  • Wendy Ballew?fell in love with Steve Madden while the fashion aficionado served a 31-month sentence
  • Madden was locked up for?stock manipulation and securities fraud in 2002
  • Working as Madden's former director of operations, the two married in 2005 and had three kids
  • In 2015, they announced an 'amicable' end to their 10-year relationship

The former wife of disgraced fashion designer Steve Madden said that his obsession over women's shoes is the reason behind their divorce.?

Wendy Ballew, who fell in love with Madden while the fashion aficionado served a 31-month sentence for stock manipulation and securities fraud, said their relationship crumbled once he was released from jail, according to Page Six.?

'It was great to have Steve in prison... It was the only time I had his full attention,' Ballew tells producers of the new documentary 'Maddman,' which chronicles the rise and fall of one of the most successful shoe designers in America.?

Steve Madden (R) and his then wife Wendy Ballew attend a fundraiser  on March 1, 2012 in New York City

Steve Madden (R) and his then wife Wendy Ballew attend a fundraiser on March 1, 2012 in New York City

Madden was locked up for stock manipulation and securities fraud in 2002 and served 31-month?

Madden was locked up for stock manipulation and securities fraud in 2002 and served 31-month?

Working as Madden's former director of operations, the two became extremely close as she visited for business meetings following the shoe mogul's 2002 prison sentencing.??

He proposed in the visiting room of Federal Correctional Complex Coleman in Ocala, Florida, and they married when he was released in 2005.

Ballew, Madden's former director of operations, married the magnate in 2005 and had three kids together

Ballew, Madden's former director of operations, married the magnate in 2005 and had three kids together

In 2015, the parents of three revealed to Page Six that they have 'amicably' ended their 10-year relationship.?

Ballew did not attend the Cinema Society screening of 'Maddman' at the iPic Theater on Fulton Street, Page Six reported.??

The documentary helps shed light on the unusual courtship between the two, with Ballew recalling during their first kiss: 'It was so scary I wanted to run, but I was in prison.'

'The romance started when I was in prison,' Madden said in a post prison interview with Page Six.

?'And I looked forward to her visits . . . it's such a heartbreaking thing to be in prison. And she made it better for me.'?

The documentary also captures Madden's wild days as a hard-drinking, drug taking hot shot fashion magnate with the world at his fingertips.??

'[Madden] wasn't a weekend warrior... He was a full-time barbarian,' said Eddie Llama, a long-time Madden employee.?

Madden, 59, who was portrayed on the big screen in Martin Scorsese's 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' eventually cleaned up his act and found sobriety in the 1990s.?

The mogul's company, Steven Madden Ltd., is worth an estimated?$1.41 billion. ?

Madden was portrayed on the big screen in Martin Scorsese's 'The Wolf of Wall Street

Madden was portrayed on the big screen in Martin Scorsese's 'The Wolf of Wall Street

He proposed in the visiting room of Federal Correctional Complex Coleman in Ocala, Florida, and they married when he was released in 2005
The mogul's company, Steven Madden Ltd., is worth an estimated?$1.41 billion.

The two announced an 'amicable' end to their 10-year relationship in late 2015 over Madden's reported obsession with shoes?

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