Which is why in the early 1990s Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell would turn out to be such a durable duo. Each provided what the other one lacked. Epstein was very rich and still very much a bachelor. Soon Ghislaine and he would be a couple — and then even more. Maxwell was Epstein’s ‘half ex-girlfriend, half employee, half best friend and fixer’, as one acquaintance described it.

According to Epstein’s former house manager Juan Alessi, Ghislaine served as both Epstein’s girlfriend and the head of his household staff from the mid-1990s until the middle of the first decade of the 21st century. Together their social life flourished. Maxwell introduced Epstein to her friends Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York, her contacts on the New York social scene, and she was on Epstein’s arm when he first visited the White House under President Bill Clinton. She also provided Epstein with companionship and real-world lessons on how elites operate.

Friends said Maxwell was deeply in love with Epstein and hoped to marry him. People close to the couple noted that Epstein shared many characteristics with Maxwell’s late father — a serial philanderer with a taste for very young women — whom she had revered from childhood. Privately, Epstein was also deeply protective of his relationship with Maxwell.