If you’ve watched House of Gucci, you may want to know where Patrizia Gucci is now and if she’s still alive after she was sentenced to 29 years in prison for the murder of her husband, Maurizio Gucci, the last member of the Gucci family to run the luxury Italian fashion house.
Patrizia was born as Patrizia Martinelli in Vignola, a small town in the Province of Modena, in northern Italy on December 2, 1948. She grew up poor and never knew her biological father. When Patrizia was 12 years old, her mother, a waitress, married Ferdinando Reggiani, a much older man who made his fortune in trucking. After the marriage, Fedinando adopted Patrizia, which is when she changed her last name to Patrizia Reggiani.
In 1970, Patrizia met Maurizio Gucci, an heir to the Gucci fashion house and the grandson of the brand’s founder, Guccio Gucci. Patrizia and Maurizio married in 1972 and moved to New York City. Though Maurizio’s father, Rodolfo Gucci, didn’t approve of his son’s marriage and believed that Patrizia was “a social climber who has nothing in mind but money,” according to past reports, he gifted his son and daughter-in-law with a penthouse in New York City’s Olympic Tower after their marriage. While in New York City, Patrizia was an active socialite, making appearances at parties and fashion events and becoming friends with President John F. Kennedy’s wife, Jackie Kennedy Onassis. In 1976, Patrizia and Maurizio welcomed their first daughter, Alessandra. Their second daughter, Allegra, was born in 1981.
Patrizia and Maurizio moved back to Milan in 1982. They separated in 1985 after Maurizio told Patrizia that he was taking a business trip to Florence, Italy. The next day, he sent a friend to tell Patrizia that he would not be coming back and that their marriage was over. In 1990, Maurizio started dating Paola Franchi, a childhood friend who attended his wedding to Patrizia. Maurizio and Patrizia finalized their divorce in 1994. As part of their settlement, Maurizio agreed to pay Patrizia an annual alimony of $1.47 million. By law, Patrizia was also no longer to use Gucci as her last name. A year after their divorce was finalized, Maurizio was murdered.
Maurizio and Patrizia’s relationship was the inspiration for the 2021 movie, House of Gucci, in which Adam Driver and Lady Gaga played the couple respectively. The film, which was directed by Ridley Scott, was based on the 2001 book, The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, which investigated Maurizio’s death and why Patrizia may have wanted to kill him. So where is Patrizia Gucci now and is she still alive? Read on for what we know.
How did Patrizia Gucci get caught for murdering Maurizio Gucci?
Maurizio was shot and killed by a hired hitman at 8:30 a.m. on March 27, 1995, as he walked up the steps to the building of his private office at Via Palestro 20 in Milan. Two years after his death, Patrizia was arrested and accused of hiring the hitman that murdered Maurizio. Patrizia’s arrest came after an anonymous tip to police in January 1997. According to prosecutors, Patrizia—who was nicknamed the “Black Widow” in the media—had a motive to kill her husband due to the believed jealousy and resentment she had toward him at the time. The prosecutors argued that Patrizia wanted control over the Gucci estate and to prevent Maurizio from marrying his partner, Paola Franchi, because the marriage would’ve cut Patrizi’s alimony in half to $860,000 a year. The hitman who killed Maurizio was Benedetto Ceraulo, a pizzeria owner in debt, who had been hired by Patrizia through her psychic and close friend, Giuseppina “Pina” Auriemma.
The three were discovered as the perpetrators of the crime after an undercover police officer recorded a call with all of them, in which he posed as a hitman threatening Patrizia to pay the rest of the money she owed the group for Maurizio’s murder. Witnesses also attested that Patrizia had asked them and others in Milan about hiring a hitman. Another piece of evidence was the entry Patrizia wrote in her Cartier diary the day Maurizio died: “Paradeisos,” which is Greek for “paradise.” “I think that Patrizia was bothered above all that she couldn’t call herself a Gucci any more,” Paola said in court, according to the Associated Press.
During her trial, Patrizia’s lawyers denied that she ordered for Maurizio to be assassinated and instead was framed and blackmailed by Pina. Patrizia later contradicted her account by telling the court that the murder was “worth every lira.” “In Pina’s eyes, Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli was a golden cow, to be milked for money,” Patrizia’s lawyers said. After a five-month trial, Patrizia, Pina and Benedetto were convicted of premeditated murder. Patrizia was sentenced to 29 years in prison.
Is Patrizia Gucci still alive?
Yes, Patrizia Gucci is still alive. She was 72 years old at the time House of Gucci was released. After she was sentenced to 29 years at the San Vittore Prison—also known as the Opera prison—in Milan for the murder of Maurizio in 1997, Patrizia asked that her conviction be overturned because a brain tumor she underwent surgery for in 1992 had impaired her and made her incapable of planning a murder. An appeals court in Milan upheld her conviction in 2000 but reduced her sentence to 26 years. That same year, Patrizia attempted to commit suicide by hanging herself with a bed sheet, but was found by prison guards and taken to the hospital.
“She just said ‘I wanted to go’…Psychologically she is in a terrible state,” her mother, Silvana Barbieri, told CNN at the time. Her lawyer at the time, Mario Giraldi, claimed that the suicide attempt was a result of Patrizia’s serious epilepsy. In 2005, despite her prison’s no-pet rules, her lawyers negotiated with the facility for a special privilege to allow her pet ferret, named Bambi, to live with her. She also kept two evergreen plants. In October 2011, Patrizia became eligible for parole under a work-release program, but refused to stay in prison. “I’ve never worked in my life, I won’t start now,” she told her lawyer at the time. She later took a parole job in 2014 and was released after 16 years in prison. She finished her parole on the credit of good behavior in October 2016 and was a free woman after 18 years of parole and prison time.
In an interview with The Guardian in 2016, Patrizia explained that she stayed busy in prison by sleeping and taking care of her plants and pet ferret, who died when a fellow inmate accidentally sat on him. “I slept a lot. I took care of my plants. I looked after Bambi, my pet ferret,” Patrizia said at the time. “I don’t like to talk about this time at all. It is all a bad dream to me.” The Guardian noted that Patrizia wouldn’t refer to her prison by its name and instead called her incarceration “my stay at Vittore Residence.”
Where is Patrizia Gucci now?
So where is Patrizia Gucci now? As part of her parole agreement, Patrizia was employed at Bozart, a costume jewelry firm in Milan, as a “design consultant” in April 2014, according to The Guardian. One day, as she arrived for work, Patrizia was interviewed by an Italian news station at her office, who asked her, “Patrizia, why did you hire a hitman to kill Maurizio Gucci? Why didn’t you shoot him yourself?” She responded, “My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.” After she was released, one of Patrizia’s first acts of freedom was to go shopping on the Via Monte Napoleone in Milan, where she was photographed by the paparazzi with a red macaw on her shoulder, according to The Guardian.
As for her job, Patrizia told The Guardian in 2016 that most of her work consists of advising Bozart’s design team and reading fashion magazines. “She’s like our Michael Schumacher—she keeps on top of trends and test-drives our creations,” Maurizio Manca, Bozart’s co-owner, told The Guardian. When she first arrived, Patrizia, who generated publicity for the company, helped to design a collection of rainbow colored jewelry and evening bags inspired by her pet macaw, Bo. “She’s like our Michael Schumacher—she keeps on top of trends and test-drives our creations,” co-owner Maurizio Manca told The Guardian. The company held a launch in Milan in September 2014 for the collection. Everybody came and it was a big success,” Manca said. “But it happened to be on the same day that Gucci was having a runway show up the street. The next day there was nothing at all in the newspapers about Patrizia’s collection.” Manca claimed that “someone at Gucci” told the journalists to publish anything about Patrizia’s collection.
While Patrizia liked the job, she Told the Guardian that she wasn’t a fan of computers, which just started to become popular around the time she went to prison. “I don’t like computers. They are quite evil,” she said. (Manca noted that Bozart had to remove Patrizia’s computer from the company’s internal network after she accidentally deleted Bozart’s entire photo archive.)
As for where she lived, Patrizia told The Guardian in 2016 that she resided in a townhouse in Milan with her then-89-year-old mother. Patrizia’s daughters, Alessandra and Allegra, who were 18 and 14 at the time she was arrested, are both married and live in Switzerland with money inherited from the estate of their father, Maurizio Gucci. Patrizia claimed at the time that her daughters hadn’t visited her much since her release and hadn’t introduced her to their children. “We are going through a bad time now,” she said. “They don’t understand me and have cut off my financial support. I have nothing, and I haven’t even met my two grandsons.”
Patrizia, who confirmed that she no longer wants to work at Gucci, also admitted to The Guardian that she still loves her husband, despite what happened to him. “If I could see Maurizio again I would tell him that I love him, because he is the person who has mattered most to me in my life,” she said. “I think he’d say the feeling wasn’t mutual.”
House of Gucci is in theaters now.
For more about House of Gucci, read the book the movie is based on: The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed. In the book, which was first published in 2001, author Sara Gay Forden tells the sensational true story of how Maurizio Gucci was murdered on the morning of March 27, 1995, in Milan, and the events that led to the arrest of his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani, a.k.a. the “Black Widow.” The book investigates why Patrizia may have had a motive to kill her ex-husband—was it because of his mistress? was his spending out of control?—whether she really was the reason for his death. (Plus, who else could have done it.) The House of Gucci is described as a “page-turning account of high fashion, high finance, and heartrending personal tragedy.”
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