Casey Johnson was born into one of the wealthiest families in America, but like some other children of privilege before her, she often struggled to find a comfortable place in the world. The 30-year-old socialite and reported fiancée of reality-TV star Tila Tequila was found dead of what police have said was natural causes Monday at her Los Angeles home.
Born September 24, 1979, Johnson was the daughter of New York Jets owner and philanthropist Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV and his ex-wife, socialite Sale Johnson. She was also the great-great-granddaughter of Robert Wood Johnson I, co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson company.
Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 8, Johnson co-authored a book on the subject, "Managing Your Child's Diet," with her father when she was 14. Though she never got involved in her family's business despite being dubbed the "Band-Aid Princess" due to her ample trust fund, Johnson made a name for herself as a wild child on the Hollywood social scene, befriending fellow heiresses such as Paris and Nicky Hilton, with whom she co-starred in the 2003 documentary "Born Rich," directed by her uncle, Jamie Johnson.
After attending private school in New York, she enrolled at Brown for a time but dropped out freshman year to intern for famed New York publicist Lizzie Grubman, according to Gawker, and spent time as the beauty editor of the now-shuttered Manhattan File.
Her personal life was frequently the subject of tabloid reports, often centered on her alleged struggles with drugs and alcohol problems and several visits to rehab, but most focusing on her active dating profile, which included both men and women. She famously feuded with her aunt, Libet Johnson, four years ago, publicly accusing the then-56-year-old of seducing and stealing her boyfriend, music manager John Dee. After moving to Los Angeles eight years ago, Casey also dated several other high-profile men before beginning a string of lesbian relationships that were frequent staples of the gossip pages.
Following repeated stories of her partying ways, Casey's mother took custody of Johnson's 3-year-old adopted daughter, Ava, and the Daily News reported that Casey recently came to New York in an attempt to retake custody of the girl but was unable to due to her crumbling finances. Friends also told the tabloid that Woody Johnson cut off Casey's trust fund because she would not re-enter rehab to get sober.
Among her high-profile affairs were relationships with Courtenay Semel — daughter of former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel and ex of Lindsay Lohan and Tequila — who reportedly set Johnson's hair on fire during a fight last October. A month later, Johnson was arrested for allegedly stealing $22,000 worth of jewelry, shoes, underwear and hundreds of pages of legal documents from another ex, British socialite and "Make Me a Supermodel" reality-show contestant Jasmine Lennard.
In December, Tequila announced that the couple were engaged, breaking the news in a widely seen video in which she bragged about her allegedly 17-carat diamond engagement ring. No wedding date had been announced at the time of Johnson's death.