Oscar winning actor Colin Firth, a stalker and an affair: these are the three ingredients that have the world captivated by one of the most bizarre celebrity court cases in recent times.
Just last week, an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, reported that Colin Firth had asked Italian police to investigate a man he believes was stalking his wife, Italian film producer Livia Giuggioli.
Within days of the investigation going public, Livia – who married The King’s Speech actor in 1997 – admitted she had had an affair with the ‘stalker’, an Italian journalist named Marco Brancaccia who was formerly a childhood friend of the producer.
As the tangled situation went public, the couple were then forced to admit they have briefly split a few years ago, during which time Livia became romantically involved with Marco. But when she ended the fling to reunite with her actor husband, the couple claim the journalist began a “frightening campaign of harassment”.
In a new interview with PEOPLE Magazine, 55-year-old Marco claimed his "campaign of harassment" only included "two WhatsApp messages, one happy birthday [text message] and an email to Colin".
"After [the affair] ended in June 2016 I never called her again," Marco said, adding that he "truly regrets" reaching out to the 57-year-old star.
"It was sent out in a moment of frustration, sadness — a terrible moment. I informed him of the affair I had with Livia. I would never now send that email," he said.
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"It was a terrible mistake, so much so that I even apologised. But to go from that to being made out to be a stalker is just not right."
Marco also stated that Colin replied to his note, and seemed "sympathetic" to the situation.
"After a couple of days he answered. He was polite," he said.
"He wrote something along the lines of, 'You hurt me, but I understand that you are hurting too.' After that, I never got in touch with them again."
He described his relationship with Liva as a "true love story" and said she abruptly ended the romance when he began asking her to divorce her husband so they could be together properly.
"I have no reason to doubt that when she said she loved me and she wanted to be with me, she was being honest," he said.
"But when it came to actions, and I asked her when she would tell Colin, she abruptly ended the relationship."
The couple have so far declined to comment further on the case, due to the nature of the "ongoing criminal prosecution".
Colin and Livia met in 1995 on the set of British-Italian miniseries Nostromo, in which Firth starred and Giuggioli worked as a production assistant. They married two years later at a 13th-century church near her home Citta della Pieve.
The couple have two children together - Luca, 16 and Matteo, 13. Firth also has a 27-year-old son, Will Firth, from a previous relationship.
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