AUSTIN, TEXAS — Austin, Texas -- Texan Steve Wyatt, whom London tabloids have linked to the predicted royal breakup of Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York, is one of the least known members of a prominent Houston family.
His adoptive father, Oscar Wyatt Jr., chairman of Coastal Corp., a natural gas supplier, was described in a Texas Monthly cover story last year as "meaner than a junkyard dog."
His mother, Lynn Sakowitz Wyatt, is a Houston jetsetter whose family has been in a Houston probate court for years feuding over the remains of their department store fortune. Some Houston wags refer to the elder Wyatts jointly as "Beauty and the Beast."
Steve Wyatt, a 32-year-old oilman, lived in London for years and now resides in the Washington, D.C., area.
In January, the Daily Mail of London reported the discovery of several dozen 2-year-old holiday photographs of the duchess and Wyatt. According to the Houston Chronicle, one snapshot showed the two with their arms around each other's shoulders while sitting on a swing.
Neither the royal family nor the Texas family has commented on this week's British tabloid reports, which have the former commoner Sarah Ferguson telling her royal in-laws that she wants to end her marriage with Prince Andrew -- the second in line to the British throne. They have been married since 1986 and have two daughters.
The Daily Mail reported that Queen Elizabeth asked the high-spirited redhead to wait a few weeks before making up her mind.
Lynn Wyatt told Texas Monthly last year that the rumors of an affair between her son and Fergie were false.
"Of course it's not true, but it's very embarrassing. Prince Andrew is so nice. He even called Steve to tell him how sorry he was about it all," she said.
The duchess stayed at the Wyatts' mansion on River Oaks Boulevard in Houston when she attended the Houston Grand Opera's British Opera Festival in November 1989. Steve, six feet tall, with blue eyes and brown hair, was also present.
"I think that's when they became friends. She even went to the ranch they have in south Texas for a private day. I don't know how much they knew each other before that," said Clifford Pugh, a Houston Post reporter who covered society.