The Colin Firth-Livia Giuggioli story last week just sort of destroyed me. I really thought they had a great marriage, a strong marriage. But no, we can’t have nice things. Livia spent months of 2015 and 2016 carrying on some kind of torrid affair with an old friend by the name of Marco Brancaccia. At some point, Livia called it off with Marco. And he went into full-on Fatal Attraction mode, emailing Colin Firth to tell him about the affair, and sending photos of himself (Marco) with Livia to Colin. Marco allegedly began stalking Livia and her family and Colin and Livia then “reunited” and joined forces to ask the Italian courts for a restraining order, and for Marco to be charged with stalking and harassment. Livia admits that she had an affair with Marco, and she and Colin made a public statement about how the affair came at a moment of quiet separation between them, and that their marriage is totally fine now.
Historically speaking, the British tabloids don’t waste a lot of ink on Colin Firth. They’ll publish photos of him when they get them, for sure, but there’s not an industry or a desire in Britain to turn Firth into some kind of tabloid fixture. But with this news, the British papers are like “holy sh-t this is messy!!!” Which is why the Daily Mail did some kind of deep dive on Marco, who he is, his history, and what’s really going on with the Firth family. They also interviewed Marco extensively, because of course they did. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:
Marco claims the stalking story is rubbish: ‘I fell in love completely with Livia. I felt she was the woman of my life. I loved her very much, very much,’ he said, adding that accusations of stalking are ‘rubbish’ and that the real story is that of ‘a famous couple trying to cover up her love affair. They totally freaked out that I would go public and tell everyone this story, so they filed a complaint against me for stalking.’
What Brancaccia says about the stalking: Brancaccia’s alleged campaign of harassment is said to have extended from September 2016 to April 2017. He claims, however, that during that period he sent only two WhatsApp messages to Livia and a single email to Colin. ‘I was based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and she was in London,’ says Brancaccia. ‘I have not made one single phone call to her. Not one. I am the only case in the world of a stalker living in another continent and not making one single phone call. How is that possible?’
The email Marco sent to Colin Firth: Brancaccia is said to have sent a ‘heartbreaking and malicious’ email to Firth, who confronted Livia with it 18 months ago. The message is said to have included a ‘detailed diatribe’ of their affair and contained revelations ‘designed to wound’. A friend of Firth’s said the email was an attempt to destabilise Colin and Livia’s attempt to sort things out in their marriage, adding: ‘He described intimate meetings that would devastate any husband — no matter what the state of their marriage. Colin presented this to his wife in what must have been a very difficult confrontation. But he has maintained his dignity throughout.’
The affair: According to Brancaccia, he attended a party at the Firth’s home in Umbria while the actor was away filming in the summer of 2015. ‘We had dinner, we danced and at the end of the evening we kissed, and that was the beginning of our story. ‘We met in many places because she was travelling or we arranged some trips. She visited me in Brazil. I went to London. We were in New York, Iceland and Prague together. We met in Rome. She seemed to be a wonderful person. And she’s beautiful, of course. We’d been friends for many years and suddenly this magic sparkle erupted and we fell in love. Both of us. She wanted to divorce. This is what she said to me. I believed it. I had no reason to doubt it.’
Brancaccia has a history of threatening behavior towards ex-lovers: Nearly 15 years ago, he was embroiled in a lengthy bitter legal battle with his Icelandic former partner, Snaefridur Baldvinsdottir, over custody of their daughter, Marta. The family had been living in Mexico where Marco was working at the time, but politician’s daughter Snaefridur (known as Didi) used an emergency passport issued by the Icelandic embassy in Mexico City to return to Iceland in 2003 after Brancaccia allegedly seized their daughter’s passport. Brancaccia accused her of child abduction and said that her father had misused his political influence to assist his daughter’s flight. She later told Reykjavik District Court in 2004 that Brancaccia’s behaviour towards her had been violent, something he absolutely denied. The case was widely reported in Icelandic newspapers. Tragically, Didi died in 2013 after suffering an epileptic fit at home in Iceland. But her 79-year-old father, Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson, former chairman of the Icelandic Social Democratic Party, told me that his daughter, who was signed to Elite models at the age of 17 and went on to become a university lecturer, ‘was afraid of Marco’.
I’ll say it again: God, this is messy. The only thing I think Marco is being truthful about is the passionate state of the affair when it was happening – they would travel to see each other, she would tell him that she planned to divorce Colin Firth, everything was hot and passionate and secret… until the bloom was off the rose. Until Livia came to her senses. Until Marco possibly did something to scare her. And then she came to her senses in a hurry and tried to break it off with him and he went all Fatal Attraction on her. That’s what I believe. As for whether Colin and Livia were really and truly separated at that time… no, I don’t think they were. And I think Colin is simply being a gentleman about Livia’s affair, and he’s helping her and protecting her.
Photos courtesy of WENN.