'Fake Marriage' Case of Ex-Pinup Girl Gina Lollobrigida Gets Weirder
ROME – The alleged fake marriage case swirling around Gina Lollobrigida, the 1950s and ‘60s pinup girl who claimed a former boyfriend married her without her knowledge or permission, continues to turn as the 85-year-old actress revealed that she never had sexual relations over a 20-year relationship with Spaniard Javier Rigau y Rafols, who is now threatening to sue her for defamation.
Meanwhile, an agent for Lollobrigida released what he says is a recent video showing Rigau denying he was ever married to anyone, raising the possibility that both sides might be lying.
The case first surfaced in late January, when Lollobrigida – once considered the most beautiful woman in the world – said she was planning to sue former boyfriend Rigau, who she said illegally married her by proxy in Barcelona in 2010 in order to make a claim on her €40 million ($55 million) estate when she died. Lollobrigida, who said she discovered the marriage by chance, said she believes he used an old power of attorney document he signed in order to carry about the bogus marriage, newspapers reported.
Since then, the two sides began a war of words, with the 51-year-old Rigau reportedly claiming she gave her blessing to the proxy ceremony, and that he was mulling a suit against his wife, who he said was “dragging [his name] through the mud.” He said he has no need for Lollobrigida’s wealth, since he is himself wealthy through his property development business. Lollobrigida earlier said she backed out of plans to marry Rigau in 2006, but Rigau says he is the one who got cold feet because he disliked the media attention that followed his wife-to-be.
“I cannot remain silent because my greatest asset is my name, and now she is dragging it through the mud,” Rigau said. “I do not wish to take action against my wife, but I will do it if I must.”
For her part, Lollobrigida, who splits her time between Rome and Monaco, said the marriage was part of a conspiracy. She claimed that during a 20-year relationship, the pair never had sexual relations, and she is demanding it be annulled.
Andrea Piazzolla, meanwhile, posted a secretly recorded video in which Rigau claims he has never been married, in a mix between Spanish and Italian. “You have never been married?” Piazzolla asked Rigau, who replied, “No.” The agent told Italian media that he believed the marriage was allowed only because of a document in which someone forged Lollobrigida’s signature.
Lollobrigida was part of a trio of Italian divas from the 1950s and 1960s, along with Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale. She earned her nickname as the world’s most beautiful woman after starring in Lina Cavalieri’s La donna piu bella del mondo (Beautiful But Dangerous), along with Italian acting icon Vittorio Gassman. The Italian title for the film translates to “The World’s Most Beautiful Woman.”
By the time she stopped acting in the last 1990s, she had appeared in more than 70 films, opposite leading men that included Humphrey Bogart, Tony Curtis, Yul Brynner, Burt Lancaster, and Anthony Quinn. She won six David di Donatello prizes in Italy – three of them honorary – and was nominated for a Golden Globe award twice: once for Melvin Frank’s Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell in 1968, and once for the television series Falcon Crest, in 1984.
After retiring from acting she established herself as an accomplished photographer and sculptor and became active in humanitarian causes.