Historical Accuracy (Q&A):
Does House of Gucci stick closely to the true story?
No. Answering the question, "How accurate is House of Gucci?" cinematographer Dariusz Wolski stated that the movie is not a highly factual docudrama. Rather, it's more akin to a "kitschy, funny, tragic tragedy, like a high-end soap opera." It explores Patrizia Reggiani's marriage into the family, which ultimately led to ex-husband Maurizio Gucci's murder. -Esquire
How did Maurizio Gucci and his wife Patrizia Reggiani meet?Maurizio Gucci, the grandson of the company's founder, Guccio Gucci, met Patrizia Reggiani at a party in 1970 when she was 23. They married in 1972 and moved to New York that same year so that Maurizio, then 24, could work with his uncle and chairman of the company, Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino in the film). While living in New York City, Maurizio and Patrizia had two daughters, Allessandra (1976) and Allegra (1981). They moved back to Milan in 1982.
Patrizia Reggiani (left) on her wedding day in 1972 and Lady Gaga (right) as Patrizia in the House of Gucci
Is it true that Maurizio Gucci's father, Rodolfo (portrayed by Jeremy Irons), didn't like Patrizia?
Yes. The House of Gucci true story confirms that Rodolfo Gucci (Jeremy Irons in the film) wasn't a fan of his son's wife. Rodolfo didn't attend their wedding and he called Patrizia "a social climber who has nothing in mind but money." He later came around somewhat and reconciled with his son.
Is House of Gucci based on a book?Yes. The Ridley Scott movie is based on Sara Gay Forden's 2001 book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed. The film follows the Gucci family across three turbulent decades.
The Ridley Scott movie is based on the book The House of Gucci by Sara Gay Forden.
Following the passing of his father, did Maurizio battle his Uncle Aldo for control of Gucci?
Yes. After Maurizio Gucci's father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) died in 1983, it's true that Maurizio (Adam Driver) battled his Uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) over the fate of the company. He saw his uncle and cousins as obstacles and wanted them out of the way. As his father's heir and the majority shareholder, Maurizio had a different vision for the company. It was a vision that would eventually put the company in dire straits and prompt Maurizio to sell off his shares. Such an action was against his father's wishes, as he had wanted the company to remain in the family. In 1988, Maurizio sold 47.8 percent of his 50 percent stake in the company to Bahrain-based investment group Investcorp (owner of Tiffany & Co.).
With Gucci's earnings in the red from 1991 to 1993, partly because Maurizio sunk exuberant amounts of money into the company's headquarters in Milan and Florence, he ended up selling off the remainder of his shares to Investcorp for $170 million in 1993. It marked the end of the family's ties to the company.
The real Maurizio Gucci (left) and actor Adam Driver (right) as Maurizio in House of Gucci
Did Maurizio forge his father's signature in an attempt to avoid paying inheritance taxes?A House of Gucci fact-check reveals that this is indeed what his Uncle Aldo (portrayed by Al Pacino) accused him of doing. As a result, Maurizio's 50 percent stake in Gucci was temporarily frozen. Afraid of the repercussions, Maurizio fled to Switzerland in 1986. He was originally determined to be guilty of faking his father's signature, but he was later acquitted.
What caused Maurizio Gucci's marriage to Patrizia to break down?
Patrizia Reggiani had been born poor in Vignola, a city in northern Italy. She never knew her father. Her family came into money when she was 12. It was then that her mother married a wealthy entrepreneur named Ferdinando Reggiani. While Patrizia was married to Maurizio, she became an active socialite, befriending Jackie Kennedy Onassis when she and Maurizio were living in New York. Patrizia was drawn to the wealth and fame the family business had to offer. She was famously quoted as saying, "I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle." Like in the movie, she often butted heads with Maurizio over his decisions regarding the company.
Maurizio and Patrizia Gucci in real life. Bottom:
Lady Gaga and Adam Driver portray the couple in the movie.
Did Maurizio Gucci end his marriage to Patrizia by telling her he was going on a business trip and then never came back?Yes. The House of Gucci true story verifies that this is what happened. In 1985, Maurizio packed a small suitcase and told Patrizia he was leaving for a business trip to Florence. He never returned. The day after he left he had his friend break the news to Patrizia that the marriage was over and he would not be coming back.
Had Patrizia Gucci threatened the life of her ex-husband prior to having him killed?
Yes. After Maurizio Gucci started dating Paola Franchi (portrayed by Camille Cottin in the movie), an artist and interior designer, Patrizia became jealous of the younger woman and tensions between Maurizio and his ex-wife escalated. Paola said that Patrizia threatened Maurizio and stalked them. In researching how true House of Gucci is, we learned that on several occasions, Patrizia had told friends that she wanted her ex-husband dead. In 2016, Paola told The Guardian, "I begged him to hire a bodyguard, but he refused. He didn’t believe Patrizia would go through with her threat because of their girls."
Patrizia Gucci (left) in real life and Lady Gaga (right) in the film.
When did Maurizio and Patrizia Gucci divorce?As depicted in the House of Gucci movie, their marriage deteriorated in the mid-1980s and they divorced in 1994. "Maurizio never asked me for a divorce," Patrizia said, "and I was alright with that. Then Paola Franchi came on the scene, and he asked me for a divorce. ... When I found out Maurizio wanted to marry this person, who had been a friend of mine, I thought, 'That's not possible.' I was sure he was ignoring his daughters to be with Paola Franchi. Maurizio was cutting us out. He no longer wanted to see his family. We have four houses in Saint Moritz, and he didn't want to give even one to my daughters. And I thought, 'What a bastard.'"
Following the divorce, Patrizia was legally prohibited from using the Gucci surname, yet she continued to use the last name anyway, commenting, "They need me. I still feel like a Gucci—in fact, the most Gucci of them all." -La Repubblica
Patrizia Reggiani Gucci (left) in real life and actress Lady Gaga (right) in the movie.
Who assassinated Maurizio Gucci?
A struggling pizzeria owner named Orazio Cicala was hired to pull off the hit. Cicala was in need of cash to pay off various debts. He in turn hired a former mechanic named Benedetto Ceraulo to be the triggerman. Ceraulo shot Maurizio Gucci four times on March 27, 1995 while Maurizio was walking to work in Milan. Maurizio was at the steps going up to his office when Ceraulo pulled the trigger. Maurizio, 46, died at the scene. Patrizia Reggiani paid the hitmen $415,000 via her friend Giuseppina 'Pina' Auriemma, a psychic to the rich. Pina is portrayed by Salma Hayek in the movie. While answering the question, "How true is House of Gucci?" we learned that on the day of Maurizio Gucci's murder, Patrizia jotted down a single word in her diary, "paradeisos," the Greek word for paradise. -AP
Via her friend Pina Auriemma, Patrizia hired struggling pizzeria owner Orazio Cicala and former auto mechanic Benedetto Ceraulo (pictured above), the triggerman, to kill her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci.
Why did Patrizia Reggiani hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband?Following her 2014 release from prison, Patrizia Reggiani was asked why she employed a hitman to kill her ex-husband, Maurizio Gucci. Patrizia replied, "My eyesight is not so good. I didn't want to miss." A House of Gucci fact-check reveals that during her trial, prosecutors argued that she had Maurizio killed to prevent him from marrying Paola Franchi, which would have halved her alimony to $860,000 per year, an amount that she likened to "a bowl of lentils." Patrizia was jealous of the younger Paola and had been harboring feelings of resentment towards her ex-husband. Prosecutors argued that Patrizia wanted control over the Gucci estate and was upset at the way Maurizio was managing the $170 million he had accumulated after selling his final stake in the family business.
"When I received the telephone call from my nanny saying that Maurizio was shot, I was very happy because all my problems were gone," Patrizia said in an interview. Not long after the murder, the Italian press dubbed Patrizia "The Black Widow."
Maurizio Gucci's body is carried away from the scene of his murder, which occurred at the base of the steps to his office in Milan.
Did Patrizia Reggiani try to evict Maurizio's girlfriend, Paola Franchi, from her apartment the day after his death?
Yes. The day after having her ex-husband murdered, Patrizia served Paola Franchi with an eviction notice from the luxury apartment she had shared with Maurizio, which was located in Corso Venezia, Milan. The notice had been written not even three hours after Maurizio Gucci's murder. The unit was still owned by the Gucci family. Paola had been living there with Maurizio for approximately five years (Esquire). After Paola was evicted, Patrizia moved in with her daughters and stayed there for two years until her arrest in 1997.
Did Patrizia Reggiani attend the funeral of the ex-husband she just had murdered?Yes. A review of the House of Gucci fact vs. fiction confirms that Patrizia was present at her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci's funeral on April 3, 1995. She was later found guilty of arranging his murder but had been trying to portray herself as innocent at the time.
Patrizia Reggiani with her daughters at ex-husband Maurizio Gucci's funeral prior to being fingered for his murder. Inset:
Lady Gaga as Patrizia in House of Gucci
What was Patrizia Reggiani's sentence for having her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci murdered?
Following a murder trial that was heavily covered by the media, Patrizia Reggiani was convicted in November 1998 and sentenced to 29 years in prison. She served roughly 18 years and was released on good behavior in October 2016. -The New York Times
Did Patrizia Reggiani try to argue that the removal of a brain tumor had affected her personality?
While in prison in the year 2000, Patrizia tried to argue that a 1992 surgery she had to remove a brain tumor had affected her personality, thus making her capable of having her ex-husband murdered. A Milan appeals court upheld her conviction but reduced her sentence from 29 to 26 years. That same year, she attempted suicide by hanging herself with a prison bedsheet, but she was discovered in time by guards. Her mental state while in prison improved in 2005 when the prison made an exception and allowed her to keep her pet ferret in her cell.
Patrizia Reggiani's mugshot after being arrested for facilitating the murder of her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci. Lady Gaga as Patrizia planning the murder in the movie.
Is it true that Patrizia Reggiani could have been released from prison 3 years earlier in 2011 but turned down parole on a work-release program?Yes. According to the Italian press, Patrizia's response to being offered parole under the terms that she participate in a work-release program was, "I’ve never worked in my life and I don’t intend to start now." -Esquire
Does the film have the approval of the Gucci fashion house?
Gucci's president and CEO Marco Bizzarri said that the company cooperated with the filmmakers and granted them complete access to Gucci's archives for wardrobe and props. However, while researching the House of Gucci true story, we learned that some of the family members expressed disappointment over their lack of involvement in the production, claiming that the filmmakers were "stealing the identity of a family to make a profit." -Associated Press
Does Patrizia Reggiani approve of the House of Gucci movie?
No. While Patrizia praised the casting of Lady Gaga as her in the film, admitting that the singer resembles her, she was bothered by the fact that Lady Gaga never wanted to meet with her. "I am rather annoyed at the fact that Lady Gaga is playing me in the new Ridley Scott film without having had the consideration and sensibility to come and meet me," she said. It troubled Patrizia that she wasn't asked to be part of the project and she pointed out that she wasn't going to receive "a cent from the film." She said that her annoyance with Lady Gaga wasn't about money. "It's about common sense and respect," she said. "I say this with all the sympathy and appreciation that I have for her." -Tatler.com
Lady Gaga told Good Morning America, "I did all the research on who she was as a person, but I didn't wanna meet her, because I could tell very quickly that this woman wanted to be glorified for this murder, and she wanted to be remembered as this criminal. I didn't want to collude with something I don't believe in. She did have her husband murdered."
The real Patrizia Reggiani Gucci was upset that Lady Gaga didn't come to meet her to prepare for the role.
Is it true that Patrizia Reggiani still receives $1.47 million a year in alimony even after having Maurizio Gucci murdered?Yes. Unbelievably, our House of Gucci fact vs. fiction examination verifies that Patrizia indeed receives $1.47 million a year from her ex-husband's estate, which is managed by their daughters, Alessandra and Allegra. The court ruled that despite having her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci murdered, the alimony agreement Gucci signed two years before his death is still valid. The court stated, "The criminal act carried out by Patrizia Reggiani has nothing to do with the accord with Maurizio Gucci. It is irrelevant. Any other opinion belongs to the moral, rather than the strictly judicial, sphere." It was also ruled that she would receive a back payment of over $22 million for the time she was in prison and not being paid alimony. Daughters Alessandra and Allegra were upset by the decision and were expected to contest it in Italy's Supreme Court. -National Post
What is Patrizia Reggiani doing today?
Patrizia, 72, lives in Milan and can be seen around town, at times with her pet parrot (blue and yellow macaw) resting on her shoulder. She reportedly works for the jewelry brand Bozart (Tatler.com). She still uses the surname Gucci, openly referring to herself as "Patrizia Reggiani Gucci."