ROME — Since April, Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been embroiled in controversy over hisimpending divorceand his alleged affair with an 18-year-old aspiring model. Berlusconi’s estranged wife, Veronica Lario, spoke publicly about the situation for the first time since she announced the likely divorce, in a June 11 letter to the Italian newspaperCorriere della Sera.
“During these last weeks,” Lario wrote, “I have watched in silence without reacting in the media to the brutal besmirching of myself, my dignity, and the story of my marriage.
When Lario first demanded the divorce from Berlusconi, 72, she publicly stated her reasons as that he was “not well” and that she could “not stay with a man who frequents minors”, according to theTimesin London. She later reportedly told friends that “the problem is not just that girl,” implying other affairs.
Lario, 52, stated intentions to initiatedivorce proceedingsafter finding out that her husband had attended the birthday party of his teenage mistress, Noemi Letizia, and given the young woman a gold and diamond pendant worth €6,000 (about $8,400 U.S.). Reports have also turned up that Berlusconi has been inviting topless showgirls to parties at his villa in Sardinia.
Berlusconi and Lario married in December 1990. They have three children together now in their 20s, Barbara, Eleanora, and Luigi. Berlusconi has two otherchildrenfrom his previous wife, Carla Dall’Oglio, with whom he was married from 1965 to 1985.
Silvio Berlusconi is serving his third separate stint as Prime Minister of Italy; he held the office in 1994-1995, in 2001-2006, and again since last year. Veronica Lario is a former actor.