Who is Alexandra Zarini? Gucci heir alleges stepdad sexually assaulted her for years, blames family for cover-up
Gucci heir Alexandra Zarini, 35, has claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by her stepfather for around 16 years. As per court documents, Alexandra also blamed her mother and her grandmother for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse she had endured. Alexandra is the granddaughter of late fashion icon Aldo Gucci and has claimed that the ex-husband of her mother, Joseph Ruffalo, would climb naked into her bed and assault her.
Alexandra alleged in a lawsuit that her mother Patricia Gucci and grandmother Bruna Palombo were aware of the abuse that would take place and kept mum about it, the New York Times reported while citing court documents. The lawsuit states that Ruffalo had sexually abused her from the time she was 6 years old until she was 22 years old. She revealed that Ruffalo would get into her bed and would attempt to penetrate her with his hands. As per the court documents, he would also expose his genitals to her and would rub them on her. In the lawsuit, Alexandra has also revealed that her mother not just allowed Ruffalo to do this, but her mother and grandmother threatened her to make her stay silent.
The lawsuit alleges that her mother and grandmother "tried to avoid, at all costs, what they perceived would be a scandal that could tarnish the Gucci name and potentially cost them millions." The lawsuit also accuses her mother of hitting and sometimes trying to strangle her. It stated that Ruffalo, would then “rescue” his stepdaughter and allegedly abuse her under the pretense of being her protector. She claimed she knew abuse was coming when she heard the ice clinking in his glass of scotch as Ruffalo made his way toward her bedroom. She also claims Ruffalo encouraged her in the use of cocaine and crystal meth, reports The Guardian.
Alexandra had also filed a report with the Beverly Hills Police Department. In a Zoom call with reporters, she said two incidents and a change in California law led her to decide to move forward with a suit, despite the time. First, the birth of her own child four years ago and second, discovering that Ruffalo was volunteering at a children’s hospital in Los Angeles.
According to a report in The Economic Times, since leaving Sierra Tucson, therapy center Alexandra said she has been financially independent from her family save from the time her mother helped her with rent and stated that she does not have a trust fund. Though she did not complete her college degree, she worked in a family office and at an art gallery. Since becoming a full-time mother in 2016, her husband has supported the family. Zarini is her married name and Losio was her maiden name. Alexandra has also denied wearing Gucci clothes growing up or even owning any Gucci other than a small handbag her mother gave her when she turned 17. She has a nonprofit tentatively called the Alexandra Gucci Children’s Foundation.
Alexandra's mother Patricia spoke to The Times where she accepted that her daughter was being abused: "I am deeply sorry for the pain Joseph Ruffalo caused Alexandra. What he did to her is inexcusable and I was devastated when she disclosed everything to me at our family doctor’s office in London in September 2007."
Patricia stated that she immediately sought a divorce from Ruffalo and started counseling for her family for them to cope with the trauma, however, she claims she is "equally devastated by the allegations against me and her grandmother" and branded them as "completely false". Alexandra attended the Sierra Tucson rehabilitation center in Tucson, at the instigation of her mother and worked with therapists who she said helped her come to terms with what had happened to her.
Ruffalo's lawyer, Richard P Crane Jr, said, "What he has been informed of, he vehemently and categorically denies." The lawyer said Alexandra was 'unstable': "While married to Alexandra’s mother, Mr. Ruffalo and his wife were greatly concerned about the mental well-being of Alexandra and took steps to address her instability. Apparently, their efforts failed."
Social media users took to the comments section to share their thoughts on the news. One shared, "Predators are always someone close to the family, it’s always a member of the family, friends or acquaintance. Don’t trust anyone with your children."
Predators are always someone close to the family, it’s always a member of the family, friends or acquaintance. Don’t trust anyone with your children— norma (@norma40591954) September 10, 2020
Another added, "Just in case someone doesn’t realize it this happens all the time. Maybe not to the Gucci family but to a large portion of American children. Sexual predators are everywhere. It could even be the person you least expect. And, yes, some “mothers” cover it up."
Just in case someone doesn’t realize it this happens all the time. Maybe not to the Gucci family but to a large portion of American children. Sexual predators are everywhere. It could even be the person you least expect. And, yes, some “mothers” cover it up.— Cherie (@CherieH_WAState) September 10, 2020
Yet another commented and said, "Not sure which is worse, the molester, or those who enable the molester by covering up this inhuman and disgusting behavior. Both belong in prison." Another user took to Twitter to say, "Excellent move, Alexandra. And very beautifully said. This will inspire many others to speak out and seek justice too, even against family members. They need to be held accountable for their inaction too."
Not sure which is worse, the molester, or those who enable the molester by covering up this inhuman and disgusting behavior. Both belong in prison.— Bill Russell (@BillRus55999045) September 10, 2020
Excellent move, Alexandra. And very beautifully said. This will inspire many others to speak out and seek justice too, even against family members. They need to be held accountable for their inaction too.— Manyi Anabor (@ManyiAnabor) September 10, 2020