Cristina Carta Villa, 59, was living the good life with her husband Gabriel Villa, 90. Traveling between their homes in New York and France and raising a son, Cristina Villa called their relationship “a great love.”
However, little did she know, Gabriel had secretly arranged for a divorce in the Dominican Republic just four months after the two said their “I dos.” According to the New York Post, Gabriel filed for divorce in the Dominican despite the couple never having lived there. He cited “incompatibility temperaments” as the reason for the divorce and hired lawyers to represent each spouse.
Now, Cristina Villa is suing her “husband,” requesting the divorce be nullified, and stopping the selling of the one-bedroom condo they share in Manhattan.
In court papers, Cristina Villa states she “has no recollection of [giving] any authorization to anyone to proceed with a divorce, or even thinking about divorce from the man she had just recently married.” She only found out about the divorce after receiving a tax bill for their condo in November and noticed her name wasn’t on it. Upon investigation, she learned Gabriel had used the secret divorce as proof she wasn’t an owner of the property.
Cristina Villa argues the divorce is not legal in the Dominican since neither of them appeared in court. Also, under Dominican law, divorces are generally published in a newspaper – and their divorce wasn’t.
The pair got married in New York in 1994 after meeting at a friends house. Cristina Villa left her job as a teacher of Italian literature at Boston College to be with the lawyer and travel agent. She described Gabriel as “a very charismatic man, strong, intelligent, and very charming.”
While Cristina Villa called their relationship “love at first sight,” Gabriel allegedly told authorities in Dominican that the marriage was “unbearable.” She brought up the possibility her husband is planning to sell the apartment – which will likely sell at over $1 million – to his adult daughter.
“I realize now that during all these years of joy and happiness, and of difficult moments we shared together, my husband lied to me and had the Dominican divorce on the back of his mind,” Cristina Villa told the New York Post. “It’s what is hurting me the most.”