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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Lady Gaga’s new film (out November 26th) centres around an explosive family drama, which almost appears fictional, due to the immense nature of events that surround the House of Gucci brand. However, the truth behind Ridley Scott’s new star-studded drama is in reality far more outrageous than any film could capture.

The plot surrounds the very real murder of Mauricio Gucci, heir to the Gucci empire, in the mid 1990s. Gaga plays the murderous Patrizia Reggiani, Mauricio’s wife and lady of the House of Gucci – who had him assassinated (via hitman) in 1995. The pair met at an event in Milan and were said to have instantly fallen in love, despite the disdain from Mauricio’s father, calling Patrizia a gold digger and social climber. The two married in 1972 and moved to New York where Patricia took on a vital role in the company, using her socialite connections to build the brand and eventually became one of Mauricio’s most valuable business advisors. 

The downfall of their marriage, and in turn the Gucci brand, began when Mauricio left Patrizia after falling in love with childhood friend Paola… who even attended the pair’s wedding! After their divorce, although she was given 1 million in alimony per year, Patrizia didn’t feel as though this was enough, beginning to worry that if Mauricio and Paola married her daughters would not get their rightful Gucci inheritance. The true breaking point that was said to have led to the murder was their daughter Allessandra’s 18th birthday, where Patrizia used the money her ex-husband had given Allessandra to organise an elaborate party, to pay for her own nose job and boob job for her daughter. Shortly after, two hitmen showed up to Mauricio’s office and shot both him and the doorman.

For two years following the murder, although they were highly suspicious, the police were unable to pin the murder on Patrizia until a hotel guest overheard a staff member bragging about his involvement in the murder. From then on it was a long string of wire taps and people turning on each other including Patrizia’s psychic Pina who was receiving $1600 a month for helping to organise the hitmen. After finding an inscription saying ‘Paradise’ on Patrizia’s Cartier calendar on the day of Maurizio’s death, they were able to arrest her.

Her trial captivated Italy and she became known as ‘Vedova Nera’ or ‘the black widow’, and the Gucci brand became tarnished, forcing all their relatives out of the company. Ultimately, the brand was revived in the late 1990s by individuals like Tom Ford, reinventing it to become one of today’s largest designer brands. During the trial, Patrizia was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, refusing to wear anything but Gucci, and even managing to get her legal team a pet ferret, Bambi, who stayed with her in prison. She was sentenced to 29 years, but only served 26 due to good behaviour, and ended up receiving a lump sum of $26 million upon her release – due to the alimony payments still coming from Mauricio’s estate.

To this day she receives 1.5 million dollars a year from the Gucci estate and is said to live a quiet life in Milan with her pet parrot. When asked why she hired hitmen and didn’t murder her husband herself, she replied ‘my eyesight is not so good… I didn’t want to miss’

Maya Zarri

Nottingham '23

Second year English student at the University of Nottingham
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