Italian movie star fights former Spanish toyboy’s fake marriage claims

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© Chiara Samugheo.
Gina Lollobrigida in her heyday.

FORMER international sex symbol and screen legend, Gina Lollobrigida has appeared at the trial of her Spanish ex-partner, who is accused of duping the star into signing ‘power of attorney’ documents that were then used to marry the actress by proxy, in a civil ceremony in Spain. 

The Italian star, now 88, met Javier Rigau Rafols in 2004, at a party in Monaco. Ms Lollobrigida claims that she enjoyed a sex-free relationship with the businessman, who is 34 years her junior, before making the decision to marry him in 2006. 

However, during preparations for their nuptials, the sultry actress had a change of heart and told Mr Rigau she no longer wished to marry him, which resulted in her chagrined partner telling his story to the Spanish press. 

Ms Lollobrigida is alleged to have severed all contact with Mr Rigau beyond this point. 

Several years later, in 2013, the actress discovered that her old flame was claiming to have married her in a Barcelona registry office, with the bride represented by an elderly Spanish lady. 

The bizarre fake marriage claims led to charges of fraud and forgery being brought against Mr Rigau, who went on trial on February 1 in Rome. 

Miss Lollobrigida alleges that the accused was intent on getting his hands on her considerable fortune, much of which was earned by savvy stock investments, a substantial property portfolio, lucrative endorsement deals, a burger chain, an Italian football team and her own brand of vodka.  

In 2015 alone, the actress topped a list of highest paid actors when she declared earnings of $96 million.  Her total net worth is believed to amount to around $275 million.

Mr Rigau, 54, denies his former partner’s claims, arguing that Ms Lollobrigida willingly consented to the marriage but wanted to keep it private to avoid press intrusion. 

The 1950s sex siren once inspired Humphrey Bogart to declare “She makes Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple,” while referring to Ms Lollobrigida’s sexually-charged appearance. 

Others said to have fallen for her charms include Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Errol Flynn, Yul Brynner, Anthony Quinn and Prince Rainier of Monaco, none of whom ever succeeded in wooing the choosy actress. 

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