4 May 2009

Italian PM's wife to file for divorce - reports

9:03 am on 4 May 2009

The wife of Italian prime Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi plans to file for divorce, Italian media has reported.

Last week Veronica Veronica Lario said his party's choice of female candidates for the European elections was a "shamelessly trashy" process

The newspaper reports said she had been also been particularly infuriated by her husband's decision to attend an 18th birthday party in Naples last week for the blonde daughter of one of his business associates even though he never went to any of his own children's coming-of-age parties.

In 2007, she criticised him in a letter to a newspaper for flirting with young starlets at a party. He later issued a public apology in the press, saying: "I beg you to forgive me".

In a two-line statement, the conservative prime minister said: "This is a personal matter that saddens me, that is private, and it seems appropriate not to talk about it."

Mr Berlusconi, a 72-year-old media tycoon, has said he was sorry his wife had apparently believed "what she read in the papers", blaming a campaign against him "hyped by the leftist press".

Silvio Berlusconi and Veronica Lario have three children aged 20, 22 and 24. They have been together for 29 years and married in 1990.

Mr Berlusconi has two elder children from a previous marriage who now hold senior positions in his media empire, reports the BBC, which says the Italian Prime Minister's private fortune is estimated by Forbes magazine at $US6.5 billion.