Ryan Murphy had gained several plaudits for The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, which followed the trial of legendary NFL running back OJ Simpson for his perceived role in the murder of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. While the show was centered around Simpson, his lawyer Rob Kardashian played an equally important role; in a minor but important role were Rob's young daughter Kim, and her siblings.
Also, read: The tragic tale of Donatella Versace's daughter Allegra
So when Murphy announced his intention to unravel the mystery of the assassination of fashion magnate Gianni Versace in the second installment of the show with The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, many expected Gianni's family members to play a significant role. After all, to Gianni, family was life. His brother Santo was his business manager, and his sister Donatella, whom he adored, served as his right-hand woman, both playing major roles in his rise to prominence and superstardom.
Their significance was clear, with Gianni leaving 30% of his fashion empire to Santo and another 20% with Donatella following his untimely death in 1997. They are both well represented in the show as well, with the effervescent Penélope Cruz playing Donatella and Giovanni Cirfiera portraying Santo. But the show is missing one major character - Gianni's niece, Allegra Versace.
The daughter of Donatella and her model husband, Paul Beck -Allegra - was the apple of Gianni's eye, with the fashion icon doting on his niece. His memorial service at Milan's Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral Il Domo was attended by the likes of Carla Bruni, Giorgio Armani, and Karl Lagerfeld with few paying attention to an 11-year-old Allegra bawling her eyes out away from prying eyes.
Because of a long-standing disagreement between Santo and Donatella, Gianni left the other 50% of his empire to Allegra. As a result, on her 18th birthday, she inherited half the ownership of Gianni Versace S.p.A, instantly becoming worth millions of dollars; she is now estimated to be worth over $800 million.
So, why is that she has been left out of the new show entirely? The answer lies with Donatella, a protective mother who has strived to keep her daughter away from the glaring flashlights of the paparazzi since she was a little girl, and the lasting effect Gianni's death had on his niece.
According to a source, Murphy reportedly shot a scene with Allegra for the show but later took it out because Donatella did not want her daughter to be portrayed in the show. While Donatella did not give an exact reason as to why she did not want Allegra shown in the anthology, it could have something to do with how the fashion heiress dealt with her uncle's death and Donatella's fear that the show might bring back repressed memories.
Raised outside Milan with her brother Daniel, who inherited his uncle's art collection, Allegra was described as a 'serious, sensible, and bright' child 'with her hair in pigtails and her nose in a history book.' All other aspects of her childhood point towards a studious little girl as well, with Allegra spending nine years studying ballet.
She and her uncle were inseparable from one another, and when her uncle was killed, is said to have felt a tremendous sense of guilt. She reportedly told her mother 'it should have been her' and according to The Guardian was aghast when her massive inheritance was revealed to her, questioning 'Why did uncle Gianni choose me?'
Donatella, realizing the grief her daughter was experiencing, sought out counseling for her daughter but it would prove ineffective. Allegra, who is said to have been 'destroyed' by her uncle's passing, would never be the same again. Plagued by anorexia and a debilitating anxiety, she would grow thinner and thinner as the first decade of the new millennium progressed, with her family forced to confront the numerous reports and confirm the same.
A dual citizen of both Italy and the US, she attended the British School of Milan and Brown University in Rhode Island, studying French, art history, and theatre, but could never escaper her uncle's death. Talking to La Republica in 2011, she said: "I studied theatre and it pleased me greatly to play parts in little independent films that no one went to see. Still, anywhere I went, I was Versace. I couldn’t escape, and it did me harm."
The intensely private Allegra is rarely seen in her own office, let alone in public, with one former employee saying: "If Allegra sees her own photos or sees herself on TV, she loses her mind. She's got body dysmorphic disorder. They say she has a job with the company, but she's not really running anything at Versace," adding that she was 'utterly insecure, frail, and never a contender for design,' and that she just stays at home and binges on TV and music.
While her mother's fierce overprotectiveness would take a toll on her, it was arguably Donatella's addiction to cocaine that had the bigger impact. In fact, the addiction is said to have gotten so bad that Sir Elton John had to stage an intervention for Donatella on Allegra's 18th birthday.
Allegra has long since given up acting. She claims to hate 'Los Angeles' and sold the two places she inherited from her uncle, an Upper East Side townhouse and a mansion on Italy's Lake Como in a bid to rid herself of the painful memories of her uncle's death.
Speaking of Allegra, a former employee said: "I've never seen her with a man or a woman. She's either alone or only with members of her family," adding "[She’s] stunted in childhood, will never develop. She is unlikely to ever function as an adult. This is the effect that Gianni’s murder had on her."
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