Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni revealed on Friday that she was divorcing her boyfriend, with whom she has a daughter, after he was caught on camera making lewd remarks.
Andrea Giambruno, a television broadcaster, was captured off-air making openly s**ual and offensive comments to female colleagues.
“My relationship with Andrea Giambruno, which lasted almost 10 years, ends here,” Meloni wrote on social media, saying their paths had “diverged for some time”.
“How do you do, darling?” Giambruno is heard telling a female colleague on the sidelines of his talk show on the Rete 4 channel, owned by Mediaset.
“Do you know that (name redacted) and I are having an affair? All of Mediaset knows it and now you do too,” he tells the woman, who is also off camera
“But we’re looking for a third person, as we do threesomes. Foursomes too. Would you like to be part of our working group?” he says in remarks broadcast by a different television channel on Tuesday and Thursday.
In another comment, he says: “Can I touch my balls while I talk to you?”
On Friday afternoon, a spokesman for Mediaset, which is owned by the Berlusconi family, told the ANSA news agency Giambruno had been suspended as a presenter while the company looked into the situation.
La mia relazione con Andrea Giambruno, durata quasi dieci anni, finisce qui. Lo ringrazio per gli anni splendidi che abbiamo trascorso insieme, per le difficoltà che abbiamo attraversato, e per avermi regalato la cosa più importante della mia vita, che è nostra figlia Ginevra.… pic.twitter.com/1IpvfN8MgA
— Giorgia Meloni (@GiorgiaMeloni) October 20, 2023
The news of the divorce coincides with Meloni’s one-year anniversary as leader of a hard-right administration that staunchly upholds traditional family values this weekend.
The couple never married, but Meloni always denied that her marital status contradicted her belief that children should have both a mother and a father.
Giambruno, whom she met in a TV studio while conducting an interview, has been a topic of controversy due to his inflammatory remarks.
In August, he was accused of victim blaming for remarks he made while discussing two gang rapes this summer that had shocked Italy.
On his talk show, he said: “If you avoid getting drunk and losing your senses, you might also avoid running into certain problems and coming across a wolf.”
He had also hit back when a German minister on holiday in Italy complained about the heat, saying: “If you don’t like it, stay at home.”
In her social media post on Friday, Meloni thanked Giambruno for “the splendid years we spent together, for the difficulties we went through, and for giving me the most important thing in my life, our daughter Ginevra”.
Meloni has previously spoken of the challenges of juggling family life with running the government, and takes Ginevra, seven, on official trips wherever she can.
She did not mention the recordings of Giambruno’s remarks in her statement.
But she warned anyone who hoped to use her personal life against her: “While the drop may hope to hollow out the stone, the stone remains a stone and the drop is just water”.
Meloni’s coalition allies rallied around her. Matteo Salvini, of the far-right, anti-immigration League, told her: “Go forward with your head held high!”