House of Gucci: everything you need to know about the true story

·5 min read
Photo credit: Lady Gaga - Twitter
Photo credit: Lady Gaga - Twitter

Ever since seeing *that* promo shot of Lady Gaga and Adam Driver serving après-ski chic, it seems as if everyone is talking about Ridley Scott’s upcoming House of Gucci – and for good reason. Based on Sara G Forden's non-fiction book of the same name (yep, it's based on a true story, people!), House of Gucci follows the ascent and assassination of Maurizio Gucci, former boss of the Italian fashion house.

And – spoilers incoming – now that the full trailer has dropped, we’ve found ourselves desperate to learn more about the real story behind House of Gucci. So, how did the actual version of events leading up to Maurizio's death, at the hands of his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani, play out off-screen? And is Patrizia still in jail now?

This is everything you need to know about the real story behind House of Gucci.

What was Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani's relationship like?

Born in 1948 to Rodolfo Gucci and Sandra Ravel, Maurizio was the heir to the Gucci fortune. Attending glamorous parties was part and parcel of his life and it was there that he met socialite and fashion 'it girl' Patrizia Reggiani.

In 1972, the couple tied the knot, much to Rodolfo's dismay (according to Forden's book, he wrote to Maurizio prior to the wedding and said, "Be careful, I do not like the sound of her at all. I am told she is vulgar and ambitious, a social climber who has nothing in mind but money. She is not the girl for you.").

Patrizia was credited for pushing her husband to make more of a name for himself at Gucci, and went on to be named the official chief adviser to Maurizio (who in turn was also promoted within the company). Alongside all things Gucci, the couple also welcomed two daughters, Alessandra and Allegra, together. Once the children made an appearance, it's said that Rodolfo softened and welcomed Patrizia into the fold somewhat.

After Rodolfo sadly passed away in 1983, Maurizio then acquired majority shares of the fashion empire, making him one of the wealthiest men in Italy.

Photo credit: Lady Gaga - Twitter
Photo credit: Lady Gaga - Twitter

So far, so good. Right? Sadly not – as two years on, in 1985, when the couple had been married for twelve years, Maurizio allegedly informed Patrizia that he was heading out on a business trip... And never came home. It would be a while before they officially divorced though (that came nine years later in 1994), but effectively this is when the marriage ended.

In 1990, Maurizio moved in with his girlfriend, Paola Franchi, who he then stayed living with for the five years leading up to his murder. He was then shot multiple times on 27 March 1995, while walking up the steps into his office. Patrizia became the prime suspect and was nicknamed 'The Black Widow' in the press, but wasn't arrested for another two years. She denied any wrongdoing and having hired anybody to kill her ex.

Her apparent motive? Well, Maurizio hadn’t been spending too wisely and, after repeated losses, decided to sell his Gucci shares to Investcorp for an estimated $120 million. It’s fair to say that Patrizia didn’t take this too well, along with the idea of Maurizio marrying his new girlfriend, Paola...

"I was angry with Maurizio about many, many things at that time," Patrizia told The Guardian in 2016. "But above all, this. Losing the family business. It was stupid. It was a failure. I was filled with rage, but there was nothing I could do. He shouldn't have done that to me."

Photo credit: Jacopo Raule - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jacopo Raule - Getty Images

The trial of Patrizia Reggiani

While the authorities suspected Patrizia from the beginning, she wasn't arrested until 31 January 1997. Her high-profile trial started a year later in 1998 and throughout the case, she maintained that she was set up and being framed.

As the trial unfolded, however, details emerged revealing that Patrizia had hired four accomplices to carry out Gucci's murder, including a psychic. At one point, she also pleaded mental instability (as a result of a brain tumour operation in 1992), stressing that she was incapable of plotting a murder.

The result, however? Patrizia was found guilty and sentenced to 29 years in prison (reduced to 26 years on appeal). Ultimately, she only served eighteen of those years after being released early on the grounds of good behavior. She then went on to work at a costume jewellery brand as a consultant.

In 2014, while at work, Patrizia was pounced upon by a reporter and asked why she hadn’t shot her husband herself. 'The Black Widow' hit back saying, "My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss."

Is Patrizia Reggiani still in jail?

Back in 2000, Patrizia appealed her conviction, but a Milan court upheld the verdict. Then, just over a decade later in October 2011, she was granted the opportunity to complete her sentence in an open prison, however, she declined, telling officials, "I've never worked in my life and I’m certainly not going to start now."

By October 2016, having served 18 years of her sentence, Patrizia was granted an early release due to good behaviour.

According to The Telegraph, a court dictated following her release that she would be legally entitled to almost £1 million a year (plus back payments from the time she spent in prison), as per the terms of an agreement Maurizio signed two years before his death.

These days, she can now be found in affluent Milan where she's often spotted with her very distinctive pet macaw on her shoulder.

Watch the trailer for House of Gucci here:

House of Gucci is planned for release on 25 November in the US and 26 November in the UK.


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