The former lover whom Colin Firth’s wife Livia Giuggioli is now accusing of stalking her says he only contacted the couple a handful of times after the end of his relationship with Giuggioli — including a letter to Firth detailing the relationship.
Giuggioli and Firth accused Italian journalist Marco Brancaccia, 55, of stalking the 48-year-old film producer after ending an affair. Giuggioli and Brancaccia had a relationship while she was briefly separated from Firth, 57, between 2015 and 2016.
Giuggioli filed a police report against Brancaccia in Italy, and in a statement she and husband Firth accused Brancaccia of “a frightening campaign of harassment.” But the journalist says in an interview with PEOPLE that he has barely been in contact with Giuggioli since their relationship ended. Brancaccia says he has also been on assignment in Brazil since the end of the romance and did not contact her during his one trip home to Italy last summer.
“The reality is that Livia and I have known each other since we were youths, then in 2015-2016 we had an 11-month love affair,” Brancaccia says. “After it ended in June 2016 I never called her again. I did send her two WhatsApp messages, one happy birthday [text message] and an email to Colin, the latter which I truly regret.”
He continues, “It was sent out in a moment of frustration, sadness — a terrible moment. In the email to Colin — which now in retrospect I truly regret sending — I informed him of the affair I had with Livia. I would never now send that email. It was a terrible mistake, so much so that I even apologized. But to go from that to being made out to be a stalker is just not right.”
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the couple confirmed the relationship, saying, “A few years ago Colin and Livia privately made the decision to separate. During that time Livia briefly became involved with former friend Mr. Brancaccia. The Firths have since reunited.”
The statement continued, “Subsequently, Mr. Brancaccia carried out a frightening campaign of harassment over several months, much of which is documented. For obvious reasons, the Firths have never had any desire to make this matter public.”
Brancaccia says he wrote to Firth in detail about his affair with Giuggioli after he saw the two step out together on TV.
“It hurt me very much so I wrote to him and told him everything about our affair. After a couple of days he answered. He was polite. 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.”
The journalist says that he and Giuggioli would often travel to see each other “as often as possible” during the 11-month span of their affair, including trips to Italy, Brazil, London and New York.
“We would try and see each other as often as we could as it was a real love affair, for the two of us,” he says. “We would speak on a daily basis and write WhatsApp messages during the day. Due to the different time zones often I would wake up to her messages as she would to mine. It was a love story.”
But Brancaccia claims that the end of their relationship came after he pressured Giuggioli on when she would divorce Firth.
“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 says. “But when it came to actions, and I asked her when she would tell Colin, she abruptly ended the relationship.”
After learning of the suit in Spring 2017, Brancaccia filed for calumny against Giuggioli in May 2017 for purportedly falsely accusing him of having committed a crime in front of a police or judicial authority.
“Together with my lawyers we established that what had been written in Livia’s complaint was slanderous,” he says. “I have never threatened Livia or any other member of her family.”
Firth and Giuggioli married in 1997 after first meeting on the 1996 set of the BBC drama Nostromo. The two later moved to the Italian region of Umbria and welcomed two sons, Luca, 16, and Matteo, 15. Firth has since become an Italian citizen.