Silvio Berlusconi has been told by a Milan court to pay nearly €100,000 a day in maintenance to his former actress wife, just days after the billionaire media mogul proudly announced his relationship with a television showgirl 50 years his junior.
Corriere della Sera, a Milan newspaper, reported on Thursday that the court had filed its ruling over Christmas in the contested divorce settlement following their separation in 2009 when Veronica Lario, 56, accused the then prime minister of consorting with young women.
“She is relieved because the whole story was very painful for her,” a friend of Ms Lario, who asked not to be named, told the Financial Times, confirming details of the court’s ruling. “They spent 30 years together, an entire life,” the friend added.
The court awarded Ms Lario maintenance of €36m a year, reportedly 10 times more than Mr Berlusconi had offered, but less than the €43m the former actress had asked for. Ms Lario was “entitled to live in the manner she was accustomed to”, the court said, noting that she had no marital home and will have no further call on Mr Berlusconi’s assets.
Mr Berlusconi, whose wealth is estimated to amount to several billion euros but who has been slipping in the ranks of Italy’s wealthiest, is in the midst of launching an attempted comeback as prime minister for the fourth time in February’s elections. He had no immediate comment on the reports of the divorce ruling, against which he could appeal.
Mr Berlusconi, already married at the time to his first wife, saw Ms Lario performing in a Milan theatre in 1980, in one scene topless, and courted her. They have three children. Ms Lario’s letter to La Repubblica newspaper in April 2009 denouncing her husband’s alleged philandering with “minors” opened up a series of sex scandals that have continued to haunt him. The teenager in question at the time was Noemi Letizia, an aspiring starlet from Naples. Both denied any improper conduct.
Investigations into alleged erotic parties at Mr Berlusconi’s private villas since then have led to his trial on charges of paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug, an underage prostitute from Morocco, and abusing his powers as prime minister to get her released from a Milan police station. Both have denied improper conduct.
Appearing on one of his television channels two weeks ago, Mr Berlusconi opened up to the public, saying he had felt lonely and sad after the separation from Ms Lario in the same year as the death of his mother and sister. Someone had suggested some parties, he said, denying again improper behaviour.
Mr Berlusconi also named his latest partner – Francesca Pascale, a 27-year-old former TV dancer who launched her personal campaign “I miss you Silvio” to persuade him to get back into politics after his resignation in November last year.