Every summer, the Spaniards are privy to a ‘culebrón del verano’, or summer scoop. This year, however, the juiciest piece of gossip has hit the press early. Both are multi-millionaires. Both are hot-blooded.
The key figure is not only Italian she is one of the few surviving silver-screen icons: La Splendida, La Lollo, and 1960s sex symbol, Gina Lollobrigida.
The cause of her fury comes in the manly shape of her ex-boy friend, fifty-one year old Javier Rigau y Rafolis, 34-years her junior.
The couple met in Monte Carlo in 1986 and have been dating every since. They made plans to wed in 2006, but apparently postponed their plans for the following year because Javier did not like ‘the heat of the spotlight’. Interestingly, those intentions fell overboard as well. Not surprisingly, their relationship has remained on less-than-smooth seas ever since.
But according to Javier, the couple married in 2010 by proxy - at her request – in Barcelona so as to avoid publicity. Gina claims to have found a document attesting to this on the Internet and that her wedded state is news to her. Indignant, she has lashed out and refers to her ex-lover a circling vulture.
The key witness to the mystery ceremony is a 72 year old long standing family friend of the groom’s. The woman expressed surprised when Gina claimed to have no recollection of her, despite the shot of the two standing side by side, plus another one of the movie-star bearing an signed inscription that reads “To Pilar, the proxy, with much kindness".
The property developer swears he did not trick La Splendida into signing a power of attorney only to carry out a secret wedding without her knowledge in order to inherit her £35 million fortune. He even mentions signing a pre-nup agreement or two in spite of a recently leaked video of him saying that he has never been married.
Okay, so Gina may not remember every single name and detail of every event at the drop of a hat. Who does even in their forties or in their fifties? What I do have very clear is that the Spanish economy remains in the toilette (sadly).
I have the dubious distinction of meeting Lollobrigida’s son at a rare social; his all-boys boarding school sat about a mile away from mine, safely ensconced in a hamlet bordered by vineyards and overlooking a Lac Leman. Almost every girl in school secretly fancied Milko not only because of his good looks, but because he sang and played the guitar beautifully.
With one party threatening to sue for defamation and the other for fraud, I know where I am placing my bets.