'Lady Gucci: The Story of Patrizia Reggiani': How Maurizio Gucci's wife's past played an important role in his murder
The world was hit by the assassination of Maurizio Gucci, heir to one of the world’s best luxury fashion houses in March 27, 1995. Maurizio was 46 when a gunman hit him multiple times as he entered the building where he worked on Via Palestro 20 in Milan—nearby the city’s fashion district. His shocking murder raised a sea of questions – whether he was embroiled in illegal transactions and got killed, or had there been a rift among the family members that resulted in his death. But at the time, no one had the idea who the real mastermind was behind Maurizio’s killing.
Two years went by but the investigation into his death reached no conclusion. Then suddenly in the evening of January 8, 1997, Filippo Ninni, one of the main detectives in the Maurizio case, received an anonymous call. The person on the other end of the call demanded a meeting. Ninni agreed to the meeting, which eventually unraveled an assassination plot that no one has expected. Also, it revealed the name of the person who was behind it and it was none other than Maurizio’s wife—Patrizia Reggiani, who was once his favorite.
‘Lady Gucci: The Story Of Patrizia Reggiani’: Live stream, release date, plot and all you need to know about Discovery+ show
What happened to Elisa Lam? A look at theories behind her mysterious death at LA's infamous Cecil Hotel
Why did Patrizia kill her husband?
The story of Patrizia and Maurizio was all about love and passion until tragedy struck. The pair first met in a very "awkward" manner – as per Patrizia’s own words documented in Discovery+’s ‘Lady Gucci: The Story Of Patrizia Reggiani’. “My encounter with Maurizio was awkward. My best friend said to me, ‘Look you have to drag Maurizio to my party.’ And I asked her, ‘Who is Maurizio?’ I went up to the first floor and he arrived. He said, ‘When can I talk to you?’ And I said: ‘Later’. But I had already noticed that he liked me. Then we decided to go to the nightclub. I had come with another man in a Porsche. Because he arrived in a smaller car. I made up my mind about him, ‘This man is a loser.’”
She continued, “I got a call from him and he said, ‘Listen, I’ve found a restaurant that’s really nice. How about we go there tomorrow evening? And that same evening, he said to me. ‘Listen, what do you say to become Patrizia Gucci?’ I said, ‘What? Have you gone mad?’ And we started dating. Back then I was really fun, not like I am now. Besides, my looks, Maurizio loved everything about me. He was a good-looking man. But he had this broken tooth. So the first thing I had him do was to fix that tooth”.
Micaela Goren Monti, Patrizia’s acquaintance, also said in the upcoming documentary, “She had beautiful eyes and she still does. She was like a mini Liz Taylor. She was very short. We were a group of short girls. It did bother her a lot. She always used to backcomb her hair. She had more hair than face along with high heels, it made her look taller.”
Patrizia and Maurizio ended up marrying each other on October 28, 1972, despite the latter’s father, Rodolfo Gucci, not supporting the union. Maurizio’s uncle Aldo Gucci helped the newly-wed start their new life together in New York. The pair welcomed two daughters, Alessandra and Allegra, together. Eventually, Rodolfo also gave in and bought the couple a loft in New York.
Everything was going all well and fine until Rodolfo died in 1983. His shares went to Maurizio. Later, Paolo Gucci, Aldo’s son, also gave his shares to Maurizio, which made him a majority shareholder and head of Gucci. But Maurizio was not the best choice to run the company as stated in the documentary, “Maurizio knew the problems, but did not know how to solve them.” He became so frustrated that one day he packed bags and left. “I felt lost. I had a huge house, two kids. There was a nanny, but I was in shock. But when he came back, he did not want to be together. The marriage was over. Maurizio decided to sell his shares and sold it to Bahrain-based Investcorp for 170 million dollars. Gucci was in foreign hands,” Patrizia said.
The sale of shares left Patrizia disappointed and she forced her husband out of the house. The pair remained separated without divorce but the twist came when Paola Franchi entered Maurizio’s life. Maurizio wanted to marry his young girlfriend, so he started asking for a divorce from Patrizia. “I was no longer allowed to use the Gucci name,” she said, who added the situation began getting worse when one day she fainted due to some problem in her brain. Though Maurizio visited the hospital, he did not meet her personally. He also declined to give anything to his two daughters and that was the point when Patrizia decided to kill him—the love of her life whom she loved more than anyone else.
Was her past responsible for the murder?
Patrizia was not born rich, she became rich later in her life. Cristina Brondoni, a criminologist who features in the documentary, said, “Patrizia was born in 1948 and grew up in the poorest suburbs of Milan. A city where social differences are visible. Her mother, Silvana, was a dishwasher at a cafe in Via Padova. But their lives changed completely after meeting rich entrepreneur Ferdinando Reggiani.” She added, “Patrizia had money, but she’s missing the status. There is a difference between those born into a rich family and those who still have a long way to go before they can live up to the expectations. She was one of these people.”
Monti stated, “Patrizia has two surnames – Martinelli Reggiani. Why? Nobody ever questioned it. I found out she was not Reggiani’s daughter. She had been adopted by him. Her difficult childhood left an everlasting impression on her that she can be poor again. Her life was different from mine and our school friends. We’re part of Milan's upper class. We were young girls and we thought that we could live on love alone. We’re the '60s generation. For Patrizia, it was important to find the right person. And the right person would need to be a big name, and come with a very fat wallet.”
So when Maurizio started seeing another woman and planning his life with her without giving a single penny to her and their daughters, Patrizia decided to kill him. “I went around asking anybody here brave enough to kill my husband?” she said. Patrizia even made a call to her estranged husband before his death. She told him, “You’ve reached the extreme limit of making yourself despised by your daughters who no longer want to see you to forget the trauma. You are a deformed outgrowth, you are a painful appendix that all of us want to forget. For you, hell is yet to come.”
Then with the help of her friend, Giusepinna Auriemma, she managed to hire a man who killed Maurizio. Patrizia was apparently so confident with her planning that she used to think she won’t be caught ever. That’s why when police officers arrived at her house to arrest her, her reaction was, “I didn’t think they’d catch me.” She was eventually convicted and given 26 years of jail time, but she served only 16 years behind bars and was released in 2016. She still lives in Milan and can be seen around the city’s more upscale neighborhoods.