Colin Firth’s wife has admitted having an affair with a childhood friend she accused of stalking her.
Livia Giuggioli sparked a police investigation after claiming journalist Marco Brancaccia harassed her with a ‘frightening’ barrage of messages.
But last night the 48-year-old Italian revealed she had a relationship with Mr Brancaccia after she had briefly separated from her Oscar-winning husband.
She said her former lover began threatening her with telephone calls and texts after she had reunited with Firth, 57.
Livia Giuggioli, Colin Firth’s wife, has admitted having an affair with a childhood friend she accused of stalking her
Mr Brancaccia, 55, told The Times that Miss Giuggioli had invented the claims to cover up their affair, which happened between 2015 and 2016.
The Firths, who have been married for 20 years, have two sons, Luca, 16, and Matteo, 13. They live in Chiswick in west London, but own a house near the community of Città della Pieve in Umbria.
A spokesman for the couple said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Details of the police probe first appeared in Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
It reported that Mr Brancaccia began stalking Miss Giuggioli in September 2016 because he could not face being cut out of her life. He is accused of threatening to write compromising articles about her and Firth before emailing photographs to the British actor, prompting him to alert Italian prosecutors.
In the complaint, Miss Giuggioli said she was living in terror and thought Mr Brancaccia might be following her, the newspaper said.
The journalist, who works for the Italian news agency Ansa, said the stalking allegations were false. ‘We were romantically involved, she wanted to leave Colin for me,’ he said, claiming that Miss Giuggioli’s marriage to Firth had ‘been over for years’.
Livia Giuggioli, 48, alleges Marco Brancaccia threatened her through telephone calls and texts
‘My “stalking” consisted of two messages via [the messaging service] WhatsApp after she ended our relationship in June 2016, and an email,’ he said.
‘I wrote an email to Colin about my relationship with Livia, which I now regret sending, and she filed a complaint against me for stalking out of fear that I could go public with what she had revealed to me about her marriage and work,’ he said.
‘In a year she sent me hundreds of messages of love, photos and videos, even a diary,’ he added. He regretted involving Firth, who he said had shown ‘understanding’.
Ansa said Mr Brancaccia remained an employee. He has worked for the firm since 1988 and is based in Brazil as its bureau chief, according to colleagues.
Italy introduced a law against stalking in 2009 following an increase in women being harassed and murdered, sometimes by former partners. If found guilty, Mr Brancaccia could face up to four years in jail. His lawyers say he had ‘absolutely nothing to do with the events described and has already filed a legal complaint to protect his good name and his honour’.
On top of her work as a producer, Miss Giuggioli is an Oxfam ambassador and has travelled to Ethiopia, Kenya, Bangladesh and Zambia.
The mother of two is also a founding member of The Circle, a women’s advocacy group set up by singer Annie Lennox. She also founded Eco-Age, a consultancy that advises fashion companies on environmental sustainability. Her husband thanked her ‘for putting up with my fleeting delusions of royalty’ in his Oscar acceptance speech for his role as King George VI in 2010 film The King’s Speech.
Firth began to learn Italian after he started courting Livia and speaks the language fluently. He applied for citizenship of the country after describing Brexit as a ‘disaster’ in an interview with an Austrian newspaper in 2016.
He said: ‘For me this is a disaster of unexpected proportions. Brexit does not have a single positive aspect.