Veronica Lario, The Wife Of Silvio Berlusconi, Files for Divorce
Veronica Lario, the second wife of Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is filing for divorce after 19 years of marriage. Lario told Italian center-left newspaper La Repubblica, which usually criticizes Berlusconi’s right-wing policies, that she was forced to ask for divorce and wants to "close the curtain on her married life." However, her divorce plea comes a week after she published an open letter in La Repubblica accusing Berlusconi, who is twenty years her senior, of “consorting with young ladies” and promoting young beautiful women for positions in the European Parliament. Berlusconi responded by saying his wife was “manipulated” by the left-wing media. In the genre of a classically Italian family soap opera, it was not the first public outcry that Lario produced. In February 2007, she published her first public letter decrying the prime minister for doing the same thing – praising the beauty of a young woman who was later promoted as an equal opportunities minister. Lario demanded a public apology for Berlusconi’s comments because she never received a private one.
While such an intense family drama would hurt the reputation or even invoke an impeachment of a politician elsewhere, in Italy it seems people are comfortable with Berlusconi dual role as both a family man and a “womanizer.” Whether Lario’s radical divorce step will be the straw that finally broke the camel’s back of people’s patience remains to be seen, but just last Friday Berlusconi has publicly boasted that he was the world’s most popular leader with the popularity rating of just over 75%, making him even more popular than America’s newly elected President Barack Obama.
Less than a week after writing an open letter criticizing her husband for cavorting with much younger women, the second wife of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy wants to file for divorce.
“I’d like to close the curtain on our married life,” Veronica Lario, 52, told La Repubblica, the center-left daily despised by Mr. Berlusconi, in an article published on Sunday. “I was forced to take this step,” she added in the Turin daily La Stampa. “I don’t want to add anything else.”
If Ms. Lario does file for divorce, it is unclear how it will affect the political career of Mr. Berlusconi, 72, who enjoys more power and popularity than ever before, thanks to the disarray of his left-wing opposition and his successful reading of the Italian national mood.
Ms. Lario complained about reports that Mr. Berlusconi’s center-right coalition planned to nominate a slate of attractive young women for the European Parliament, including the star of a reality television show.
Choosing candidates seemingly on the basis of their headshots more than their political experience was “shamelessy trashy,” Ms. Lario said.
Ms. Lario was also angered by press reports that Mr. Berlusconi had attended the 18th birthday party in Naples of Noemi Letizia, who has said in several recent interviews that she called the prime minister “daddy” and that he had given her a gold and diamond necklace.
“That surprised me,” Ms. Lario told ANSA, “because he never attended the 18th birthday parties of his own children, even if he was invited.”
Mr. Berlusconi countered that his wife has been subject to the “manipulations” of the left-wing press.
On Sunday, La Repubblica said that Ms. Lario had been contemplating divorce for years. In hiring a lawyer and opening proceedings, “I would like to avoid conflict,” La Repubblica quoted her as saying.
Veronica Lario reportedly said she could not be with a man who "consorted with minors" after her husband attended a female friend's 18th birthday party.
Ms Lario had also clashed publicly with her husband over his party's plan to choose certain female candidates for the European elections.
The 72-year-old billionaire prime minister has not commented.
In 1965 he married Carla Elvira Dall'Oglio, and they had two children: Maria Elvira, better known as Marina (born 1966), and Pier Silvio (b. 1968). By 1980, Berlusconi had established a relationship with the actress Veronica Lario (born Miriam Bartolini), with whom he subsequently had three children: Barbara (b. 1984), Eleonora (b. 1986) and Luigi (b. 1988). He was divorced from Dall'Oglio in 1985, and married Lario in 1990. At this time, Berlusconi was a well-known entrepreneur, and his wedding was a notable social event. One of his best men was former Prime Minister and leader of the Italian Socialist Party Bettino Craxi.
Lario, 52, is a former actress who retired from acting after marrying Berlusconi. The couple has three children. In the past Lario was known for expressing political opinions that contradicted those of her famous husband. On his part, Berlusconi has made racy remarks about the supposed affair between Lario and Italy’s opposition leader Massimo Cacciari.