In 1995, Patrizia Gucci hired a gunman to assassinate her husband. The mafia-style execution of the former heir to the Gucci Empire shocked the world. To the public, she was a socialite turned black widow. Italian court psychologists had a different view. To them, she was a narcissist. One capable of going to extraordinary lengths to avenge her perceived betrayal. For Patrizia, the death of husband Maurizio Gucci was one thing and one thing only. “Paradise.” In November this year, Lady Gaga will assume the role of the Patrizia in The House of Gucci. Ahead of the film’s release, here are 10 quotes offering insight into the mind and motives of the Gucci dynasty’s most notorious woman.
On meeting Maurizio Gucci
“In the beginning, I did not like him at all. I was engaged to somebody else. But when I broke off with my fiance, [a friend] revealed to me Maurizo was deeply in love with me – so little by little everything started. He is the man I loved most despite what he became after his mistakes.”
Patrizia and Maurizio met at a party on November 23rd, 1970. At first, she did not like him. Later, she changed her mind. Who better to fall in love with than Milan’s most eligible, and wealthiest, bachelor? Soon they wanted to marry. Maurizio’s possessive father, Rodolfo Gucci forbade it. This overprotective Rodolfo, who owned half of the Gucci company, was wary of Patrizia’s intentions. Love prevailed. Despite the ill feelings of the Gucci family, the pair married in 1973.
Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci
Patrizia on the curse of the Gucci family
“Power can be like a sickness for the Gucci’s“
Patrizia soon discovered some startling truths about her extended family. Gucci was a fashion house divided. Maurizio and his father often clashed with rivalrous uncle Aldo Gucci and his sons. Each of the Gucci men, it seemed, had a separate vision on how the multimillion-dollar business should be run.
“I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle.”
In the Gucci family, women were kept to the sidelines. A fact Patrizia refused to accept. To her, money and status were everything. Her father, who often spoiled his daughter in her youth, had run a respectable Italian trucking business. This was nothing compared to the luxury and fortune of the Gucci Empire. In Patrizia’s view, the well-educated Maurizio was denied his due. When the pair moved to New York to become more involved in the Gucci business, she was again shocked by the second rate accommodation wealthy uncle Aldo Gucci provided them. “Your name is Gucci,” she is reported to have told her husband, “and we have to live like peasants.”
Patrizia Gucci on Maurizio’s weakness
“I knew he was weak, but I was not weak. I pushed him so hard he became president of Gucci.“
Patrizia Gucci was a controlling force in Maurizio’s life. When Rodolfo Gucci died he left Maurizio 50% ownership of Gucci. Patrizia believes she spurred her husband to use this share in the company to take complete control. Partnering with a Saudia Arabian investment company, Maurizio engaged in a hostile takeover. First, he bought out disillusioned cousin Paolo Gucci. After a fierce legal battle, this controlling interest forced his remaining two cousins to sell. Finally, after spending time in prison for $18 million worth of US tax fraud, uncle Aldo was the last to admit defeat. The Gucci War was over. Maurizio had won. “The era of Maurizio,” Patrizia proclaimed, “has begun.”
On Maurizio Gucci’s downfall
“Maurizio became unstable… arrogant and unpleasant. He stopped coming home for lunch, weekends he went off with his ‘geniuses.’ He gained weight and dressed badly… He surrounded himself with insubstantial people.”
After seizing power, Maurizio changed. With growing confidence, he came to view Patrizia as a malign influence. Patrizia saw it differently. “My intelligence disturbed him,” she later shared.
Patrizia Gucci on being divorced at Christmas
“Only a real jerk would dump his wife on Christmas.”
By this time Maurizio and Patrizia Gucci had two daughters. Yet a shared love for their children could not save their relationship. The pair became estranged. After a failed attempt to reconcile during a Christmas holiday, Maurizio informed his increasingly obsessive wife they were getting a divorce.
Forming the conviction to kill
“Vendetta. I forgot that vendetta is not just for the downtrodden but also for the angels. Get your revenge because you are right. Be uncompromising because you have been offended. Superiority does not mean letting it all go but finding the best way to humiliate him and free yourself.”
After Maurizio’s death, the identity of the mastermind of his murder remained a mystery. In hindsight, Partzia was an obvious suspect. The above quote is taken from her diary. Here she wrote many similar entries. On several occasions, she informed those close to her of an intent to kill her husband. “If it’s the last thing I do,” she once told a housekeeper, “I want to see him dead.” Patrizia also asked a former lawyer if she could get away with it. “Advocato,” she is reported to have said, “what would happen if I decided to teach Maurizio a lesson… What would happen to me if I got rid of him?”
Patrizia Gucci’s voice memo to Maurizio
“I want to tell you that you are a monster… Maurizio, the inferno for you is yet to come.”
After her divorce, Patrizia suffered from a brain tumour. She feared it might be fatal. Fortunately for her, it was safely removed. Science has not suggested this changed her neurochemistry. What it did do was add to her sense of betrayal and abandonment. These feelings were documented in a lengthy cassette recording sent to her former husband.
On Maurzio Gucci’s death
Maurizio’s new relationship with Paola Franchi further cemented her animosity. And the rest, as they say, is history. In 1995, an unsuspecting Mauzirio was shot twice in the back while leaving his Milan apartment. A final bullet to the temple made sure the job was done. “PARADEISOS,” Patrizia wrote in her diary following the event. Later, details of the vendetta were revealed by an unexpected tip-off to Italian police. Soon, Patrizia’s web of lies crumbled. It was revealed she paid an extravagant amount, saved from the monthly allowance Maurizio gave her, to have her husband killed.
Why did Patrizia Gucci murder her husband?
“I didn’t respect him anymore. He wasn’t the man I married, he didn’t have the same ideals anymore.”
This statement was given by Patrizia in court. Following the case, she served 18 years in prison. Unlike her hitman, she was not given a life sentence. A key reason was the fact the court officials diagnosed her with a narcissistic personality disorder. This, the court believed, pushed her to go well beyond the limits of most human beings in addressing Maurizo’s wrongdoing. Today Patrizia Gucci, now Patrizia Reggiani, is a free woman. “Few women can truly capture the heart of a man,” she has reflected, “even fewer manage to own it.”
All quotes are sourced from two books. the first is author Sarah Gay‘s ‘House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed.’ The second is Gerald McKnight‘s ‘Gucci: A House Divided.’