In early morning in early spring, 1995, Patrizia Reggiani’s telephone rang with word of the news that would change her life forever: Her ex-husband, the luxury-goods scion and former fashion mogul Maurizio Gucci, had been killed at his office in Milan.
A gunman, stylishly dressed and armed with a 7.65-mm pistol, first fired on the 46-year-old Gucci from behind before shooting him in the face as he fell to the foyer’s red marble floor.
Reggiani learned of the slaying not long after.
“I was very happy because all my problems were gone,” she says on People Magazine Investigates: Crimes of Fashion, which premieres Monday night on Investigation Discovery. “And then I started feeling very lost.”
Within two years, she would also be behind bars, suspected as the mastermind of the murder plot that ended with Gucci’s death.
Her motive? “There’s some of everything,” prosecutor Carlo Nocerino said at the time. “Jealousy. Even economic reasons. She never made a mystery of the rancor she felt for her husband.”
• Watch People Magazine Investigates: Crimes of Fashion premiering on Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.
Gucci’s ruthlessness in business left him with no shortage of enemies — including those in his own family, with whom he had run their eponymous brand — but his personal life could be turbulent as well.
He married Reggiani in 1972 when they were both 24 and they quickly became one of Italy’s prominent power couples, living a lavish, jet-setting lifestyle with homes in both New York and Milan. Then, in the spring of 1985, Gucci told Reggiani that he was going on a short business trip and never returned home, instead moving in with a younger woman.
The couple finally divorced in 1994 after a protracted legal battle. Left to raise their two daughters, Alessandra and Allegra, Reggiani says she was was heartbroken and then bitter.
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“Maurizio always loved me, he wanted me to have the best,” she says on Crimes of Fashion, exclusively previewed above. “But he changed completely.”
Reggiani’s five-month murder trial began in May 1998, more than a year after her arrest, ending that November with her conviction along with four accomplices.
The evidence against her reportedly included parts of her diary, including the line, “There is no crime that money cannot buy.” In her defense, Regianni claimed she had been scapegoated by her psychic, who acted without her consent.
”Evidently, they didn’t believe me,” Regianni said upon the guilty verdict, according to the New York Times. ”Truth is the daughter of time.”
She served 18 years in prison and was released in 2016, but she still contends she was wrongfully convicted.
Now 69 and speaking out on Crimes of Fashion, Regianni says: “I am not guilty, but I am not innocent. All the things that happened were a misunderstanding.”
Not that she has shown much sorrow over it.
Once asked by an Italian reporter why she had planned the hit but did not shoot Gucci herself, she replied, “My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.”
People Magazine Investigates: Crimes of Fashion, The Assassination of Maurizio Gucci airs Monday (9 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.