Ridley Scott’s “House Of Gucci”, a biographical crime drama, based on the 2001 book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, brought back bitter-sweet memories behind the creation of the world’s most successful brand. Often termed as a fight for control, the Gucci family’s history is a mix of romance and bloodshed.
From living in a luxurious penthouse at the beginning of his career, Maurizio Gucci, the son of actor Rodolfo Gucci, soon found himself entangled in a legal battle with his uncle Aldo Gucci. Maurizio met with a brutal end after he was assassinated by a hitman hired by his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani. But hey, there’s a lot more to this sensational story. Read on to explore all about this family.
Maurizio Gave Up ‘House Of Gucci’
Maurizio Gucci was born in 1948 in Florence. He was the only child of actors, Rodolfo Gucci and Sandra Ravel. While Maurizio already had a fair taste of a luxurious life, he still decided to move to NYC to work for the Gucci company with his uncle, Aldo Gucci. After two years of living in a luxurious penthouse gifted by his dad, Maurizio moved to Milan to fight a rigorous legal battle against his uncle for control over Gucci.
“House of Gucci” was started by Marurizio’s grandfather, Guccio Gucci. He had already become a majority shareholder of the family-run business following his father’s death. However, 47.8% of Gucci was sold to a Bahrain-based investment fund, Investcorp in 1988. His uncle, Aldo Gucci died in Rome at the age of 84 of prostate cancer, on 19 January 1990.
Maurizio became the chairman of the Gucci group in 1989 but was blamed for spending carelessly on the company’s headquarters in Florence and Milan. In 1993, he sold the remaining company stock to Investcorp for $170 million, marking the end of Gucci’s association with the famous Italian family.
In an interview back then, Patrizia revealed her rage against Maurizio by stating that “Maurizio got crazy”. She continued, “Until then I was his chief adviser about all Gucci matters. But he wanted to be the best, and he stopped listening to me… I was angry with Maurizio about many, many things at that time. 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.”
Maurizio And Patrizia Bittersweet Love
Maurizio’s love story with Patrizia Reggiani was anything but love. Little did Italy and the world at large know that what started as a sweet love story, would end up being the biggest scandal in the country. Maurizio met Patrizia, an Italian socialite and daughter of a trucking magnet at a party in Milan.
The two got married in 1972 in their early 20s and Patrizia was very much there to witness the rise and fall of the Gucci family. And why not! She was Gucci’s chief advisor. If you aren’t aware, Rodolfo never approved of their relationship, and believed that Patrizia was a “social climber who has nothing in mind but money”.
Maurizio and Patrizia gave birth to two daughters, Allegra and Alessandra. However, their marriage ended on a bitter note, when Maurizio suddenly his wife and children left one day. The two were considered separated after Gucci’s friend informed Patrizia that her husband won’t be returning back. Here’s the catch! He left his wife for an American model.
Maurizio dated Sheree McLaughlin Loud, an American model from Connecticut from 1984 to 1990. During her time with Maurizio, the model reported that Gucci left his wife for her. She even claimed that Maurizio pursued her while she was married to her then-husband under the guise of employment. In 1988, she divorced her husband and Gucci rented her an apartment in NYC, paid for all her trips, and rode her places in his black Ferrari.
By 1988, Maurizo had already forced out the remaining Gucci family from the fashion company. Things didn’t end well between Maurizio and his newfound love. He never wanted her to shift to Milan, considering the strict social codes. But then, Loud wanted to settle down and make a family with him.
After several meetings in different European ports in the name of Gucci’s historic sailing yacht, ‘The Creole’, Patrizia again came into the picture. Gucci and Loud soon ended their relationship as Maurizio wanted to focus on his two daughters with Patrizia. Loud, on the other hand, went on to work for Vogue as a merchandising editor.
After this, Muarizio dated Paola Franchi, who was his childhood friend. Their short-lived love was sort of a rebound for both of them, considering their unhappy marriages. Maurizio divorced Patrizia in 1994. She received a divorce settlement, providing her with $1 million a year (a decade after they split).
However, she always remained resentful of her ex in the public. Forbes reported that she once told the press about Maurizio: “He recently told me: ‘Do you know why our marriage failed? Because you fancied yourself the president, and here there is only one president.’”
The Day Of The Scandalous Murder…
Maurizio may have divorced Patrizia, but the lady had already planned his fate. On March 27, 1995, as Marizio was entering his office building on Via Palestro 20 in Milan, he was shot three times in the back and once in the head by a gunman. Even the building’s doorman was shot but survived. However, Maurizio didn’t make it to another day.
His wife, Patrizia was an immediate suspect in the case. There were rumors that she always wished for his death. However, the police authorities couldn’t gather any evidence for two years and the case remained cold. But then, a tip-off led to her arrest resulting in a memorable trial that took place in 1998.
It came out that Patrizia hired four accomplices for her husband’s murder. Three of them included her personal psychic and former close friend Pina Auriemma. It was proved that Pina’s friend helped her set up the hitman and a getaway driver. While she kept maintaining her innocence, putting all the blame on Pina, Patrizia was sentenced to 29 years in prison for setting up the murder. The other three too received lengthy prison sentences.
Patrizia was released in October 2016 after serving 18 years behind bars. During the time when Maurizio and Patrizia were a couple, the Italian press called her “the Joan Collins of Monte Napoleone”, referring to an upscale shopping street in Milan. During the trial, she came to be known as the “Black Widow”.
“I was furious with Maurizio,” she said in the 2021 documentary, Lady Gucci: The Story of Patrizia Reggiani. “I went around asking everyone, even the local grocer, is there someone who has the courage to murder my husband? I can’t aim a gun very well—I couldn’t have done it myself.'”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 16, 2021
The press also referred to her as “Lady Gucci”, an irony for the woman who was portrayed by Lady Gaga in “House of Gucci”. Adam Driver, on the other hand, played Maurizio Gucci in the movie. The movie was released on November 24th, 2021. Patrizia recently expressed her anguish in front of the Italian press over the fact that Lady Gaga did not reach out to speak to her before filming this movie.
Patrizia’s Life In Prison & Thereafter…
Since her release, Reggiani has found a way back into the spotlight. When asked by paps on the street about why she hired a gunman to kill Maurizio, she stated bluntly: “My eyesight is not so good, I didn’t want to miss.” In 2014, she said, “I still feel like a Gucci – in fact, the most Gucci of them all.”
For those who are wondering where is Patrizia now, in October 2011, she was offered parole if she would agree to get a job, but she scandalously said “I’ve never worked in my life, and I’m certainly not going to start now”. Now almost 74, she was finally released in 2016 after a reduced sentence due to good behaviour.
She was incarcerated in San Vittore prison, which was once occupied by German Nazis. She called it “San Vitorre residence”, and described her stay as both “relaxing” and “horrible”, during which she “slept a lot”. Not only this, but Patrizia was allowed to keep her pet, a free named Bambi, who died halfway through her sentence. She was even allowed to lounge in the prison yard. She was known for bribing other inmates and guards.
CAN YOU BELIEVE patrizia reggiani receives $1.47 million from the gucci family annually despite being the woman who literally orchestrated the murder of their heir? girlboss of the century pic.twitter.com/xZJKG2aZpz
— BLOOM 🃏❤️ (fan acc) (@BLOOMTHISWAY) November 25, 2021
Patrizia may have declined a parole job in 2011, but in 2014, she was employed at the costume and jewellery firm Bozart. In 2016, it was reported that she lived with her mother in a townhouse in Milan, and was often spotted with her parrot around upscale neighbourhoods.
Her relationship with her daughters, Alessandra and Allegra Gucci (married and settled in Switzerland) continues to remain strained. “They don’t understand me and have cut off my financial support. I have nothing, and I haven’t even met my two grandsons,” she said in a previous interview.
Patrizia Reggiani continues to receive around $1.47 million from Maurizio’s estate every year. Her employment status as of 2023 is unknown. But yea, she was, and is living a lavish life. As for Gucci, originally a family-owned and operated company, it’s now a corporate company with over 99% of its shares owned by Kering, which is one of the world’s most valuable luxury goods.