Patrizia Reggiani

Patrizia Reggiani
Patrizia Reggiani.jpg
Police arrest picture, 1997
Patrizia Martinelli

(1948-12-02) 2 December 1948 (age 73)
Vignola, Italy
Other namesPatrizia Gucci
The Black Widow (nickname)
Known forMurder of Maurizio Gucci
Criminal statusReleased
(m. 1972; div. 1994)
Criminal chargeArranging assassination
Penalty29 years originally, 26 years reduced (served 18 years)
Date apprehended
31 January 1997

Patrizia Reggiani (Italian pronunciation: [paˈtrittsja redˈdʒaːni]) (née Reggiani Martinelli; born 2 December 1948) is an Italian socialite who was convicted in a highly publicized trial of hiring a hitman to kill her former husband Maurizio Gucci. She was dubbed "The Black Widow" by the Italian press for plotting the murder of her husband.[2]

Early life and marriage to Maurizio Gucci

Patrizia Martinelli was born in Vignola, Province of Modena, in Northern Italy. She grew up poor and never knew her biological father. When Patrizia was 12, her mother Silvana married wealthy entrepreneur Ferdinando Reggiani, who later adopted Patrizia.[3][4]

When she was about 22, Patrizia met Maurizio Gucci, heir to the Gucci fashion house, at a party in 1970.[5] Two years later, the couple married and moved to New York City.[2][6] Gucci's father, Rodolfo Gucci, initially did not approve of the marriage, as he believed Patrizia was "a social climber who had nothing in mind but money," but he gifted his son and daughter-in-law with a luxury penthouse in New York's Olympic Tower.[7][8] Patrizia became active in New York social circles, making regular appearances at parties and fashion events and even became friends with Jackie Kennedy Onassis.[9][10] During her marriage, she gave birth to two daughters. Alessandra was born in 1976, and Allegra was born in 1981.[11]

In 1982, Patrizia and Maurizio moved back to Milan.[12] In 1985, Gucci told her he was going on a short business trip to Florence. The following day, he sent a friend to tell Patrizia he would not be returning and that the marriage was over.[13] In 1993, Maurizio began dating Paola Franchi, causing both resentment and jealousy in Patrizia.[14] In 1994, she officially divorced Gucci. As part of the divorce settlement, Gucci agreed to pay Patrizia an annual alimony of $1.47 million.[15] By law, she was no longer allowed to use the Gucci surname, but she continued to do so anyway, stating, "I still feel like a Gucci – in fact, the most Gucci of them all."[16][17][18]

Murder of former husband

A year after his divorce, on March 27, 1995, Maurizio Gucci was shot and killed by a hitman on the steps outside his office as he arrived at work.[19] The day he was killed, Patrizia wrote a single word in her diary: "paradeisos" the Greek word for paradise.[20] On January 31, 1997, Patrizia was arrested and accused of hiring the hitman that murdered Gucci. The trial garnered intense media interest, with the press dubbing her the "Black Widow".[21][22] According to prosecutors, Patrizia's motive was a mixture of jealousy, money, and resentment towards her ex-husband.[23] They argued that she wanted control over the Gucci estate and wanted to prevent her ex-husband from marrying Paola Franchi. The impending marriage would have cut her alimony in half, reducing her annual monetary assistance to $860,000 a year, which, according to her, amounted to "a bowl of lentils."[24][25] The hitman, debt-ridden pizzeria owner Benedetto Ceraulo, was found to have been hired by Patrizia through an intermediary named Giuseppina "Pina" Auriemma, a high-society psychic and close friend of Patrizia.[26][27][28]

Prison time

In 1997, Patrizia Reggiani was sentenced to 29 years in prison for arranging the killing.[29] She then asked that her conviction be overturned, claiming a brain tumor had affected her personality. In 2000, an appeals court in Milan upheld the conviction but reduced the sentence to 26 years.[30] In 2000, Patrizia tried to commit suicide by hanging herself with a bed sheet, but she was found by prison guards.[31] In 2005, despite rules against prison pets, Patrizia's legal team convinced the prison to allow her pet ferret to live with her.[32] In October 2011, she became eligible for parole under a work-release program but refused, saying, "I've never worked in my life, and I'm certainly not going to start now".[33] With credit for good behavior, she was released in October 2016, after 18 years in prison.[20]

In popular culture

The film House of Gucci (2021) is based on Patrizia Reggiani's marriage and the murder of her ex-husband. It is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Lady Gaga as Reggiani. The film was announced in November 2019.[34] In March 2021, Reggiani praised the casting of Lady Gaga in the film, admitting that she looks like her, but she also expressed annoyance that Gaga did not meet with her before accepting the role.[35][36] Gaga stated in interviews, for her part, she has no interest in "colluding" with Reggiani. But her heart "goes out to her daughters... I do care deeply that this must be very painful for them."[37]


  1. ^ "Maurizio Gucci's ex-wife says she was 'very happy' after slaying: 'I am not guilty, but I am not innocent'". 17 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b Gordon, Naomi (30 July 2021). "House of Gucci: The explosive true story of murder and revenge in Lady Gaga's crime biopic". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Gaga finished wearing a wedding dress". 8 April 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Patrizia Reggiani: From Lady Gucci to Black Widow". 25 May 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  6. ^ "The House of Gucci: A Complete History and Timeline". WWD. Retrieved 5 August 2021 – via
  7. ^ "The Gucci wife and the hitman: fashion's darkest tale". 24 July 2016.
  8. ^ "House of Gucci Cast vs. Real Life". E!. 29 July 2021. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Lady Gaga is Patrizia Reggiani, the woman who murdered Gucci's heirs – Observer". 11 March 2021. Retrieved 5 August 2021 – via
  10. ^ "The Murder-For-Hire Case That Almost Ended The House Of Gucci". Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Notes on a scandal: The real story of 'Lady Gucci'". Khaleej Times. 1 April 2021.
  12. ^ Forden, Sara G. (8 May 2012). The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-222267-1.
  13. ^ Family Business on the Couch: A Psychological Perspective. John Wiley and Sons. 2007. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-470-51671-3.
  14. ^ "House of Gucci: The True Story of Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani". The Quint. Retrieved 5 August 2021 – via
  15. ^ "'Black widow' imprisoned for ordering hit on Gucci heir will receive $1.47M a year from his estate". Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  16. ^ "5 Absolutely Wild Stories About Gucci Heiress Patrizia Reggiani". 3 August 2021. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Patrizia Gucci indignant 'The film will be a flop!'". Ruetir. 17 March 2021. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Gucci's ex-wife gets 29 years for arranging murder". Irish Times. Retrieved 5 August 2021 – via
  19. ^ Sara Gay Forden, The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, HarperCollins ISBN 0-688-16313-0, 2001.
  20. ^ a b Squires, Nick (10 February 2017). "Italy's 'Black Widow' Gucci heiress who ordered ex-husband's murder entitled to nearly £1 million a year from his estate". The Telegraph.
  21. ^ "Investing Money » The Maurizio Gucci Story".
  22. ^ The Black Widow goes on trial The New York Times. 20 May 1998.
  23. ^ "Where is Patrizia Reggiani Now?". 19 March 2021 – via
  24. ^ "Crime of Fashion: Gucci Killer to Go Free". The Daily Beast. 16 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Gucci Murder Case To Go to Jury". AP. 2 November 1998 – via
  26. ^ "Gucci's ex convicted of his murder". BBC. 3 November 1998 – via
  27. ^ "`Black widow' murder trial told of psychics war". 27 May 1998 – via
  28. ^ "SUSPECT IN GUCCI MURDER CASE SAID TO CONFESS". WWD. Retrieved 2 August 2021 – via
  29. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (4 November 1998). "Former Wife Given 29 Years for Ordering Gucci Slaying". The New York Times..
  30. ^ "Gucci 'black widow' wins retrial over hitman murder of husband". Archived from the original on 10 September 2012.
  31. ^ " - Gucci's 'Black Widow' in suicide attempt - November 9, 2000". Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  32. ^ "Patrizia Reggiani Declines Parole: Why She'd Rather Stay in Prison". The Daily Beast. 23 October 2011.
  33. ^ "Ex-Wife Killer Of Slain Gucci Heir Would Rather Stay In Prison Than Have To Work". Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  34. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (1 November 2019). "Lady Gaga, Ridley & Giannina Scott Team on Film About Assassination of Gucci Grandson Maurizio; Gaga to Play Convicted Ex-Wife Patrizia Reggiani. The Gucci's are very disappointed about the false representations of the family members". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  35. ^ "Patrizia Reggiani says she had husband Maurizio Gucci killed because he 'irritated' her". Tatler. 12 March 2021. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  36. ^ Hautman, Nicholas (12 March 2021). "Maurizio Gucci's ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani is 'annoyed' Lady Gaga is playing her in 'House of Gucci' Movie". US Weekly. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  37. ^ In full: House of Gucci star Lady Gaga says she won't meet Patrizia Reggiani. ITV News on YouTube. 18 November 2021.


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