Gina Lollobrigida’s ex toyboy promises to be ‘front row at funeral

Gina Lollobrigida stars in 1956’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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Gina Lollobrigida, who died on Monday aged 95, became engaged to Spanish businessman Javier Rigau in 2006 when she was 79 and he was 54. They split in 2007 before the Italian actress accused Javier of faking a marriage ceremony in which he “married” an imposter pretending to be her.

It was alleged that she discovered the marriage in 2013 and accused Javier of fraud, claiming that he had earlier obtained the legal right on her behalf with a power of attorney, The Telegraph reported.

Javier always denied the claims and was acquitted of any wrongdoing by courts in Barcelona and Rome.

The Vatican also annulled their marriage in 2019.

Now, Javier has claimed that Gina asked to see him before her death despite their tumultuous history.

He reportedly told Spanish publication ABC: “It’s all very sad. Gina had me contacted through her son and last Friday we were able to say goodbye to each properly with her son and grandson.

“From that day I’ve been staying at a hotel a few feet away from the clinic.

“I’ll stay with her son and grandson to organise the funeral where I will be in the front row.”

Gina was previously married to Slovenian doctor, Milko Skofic, from 1949 until 1971. They had one son, also named Milko.

The actress, who was often described as the most beautiful woman in the world, is reported to have said at the trial in February 2016: “Even when we went travelling, we slept in separate rooms and we never had intimate relations.”

Javier, who was not in court to hear the claim, responded at the time by telling Spanish website Vanitatis: “It’s caused me great pain seeing Gina saying the things she has against our marriage.

“I’ve seen a person who doesn’t resemble physically or mentally the one I had at my side for years.”

He previously insisted in a 2013 interview with the Mail on Sunday: “Gina and I married for love and despite everything I still love her very much.”

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Prior to Gina’s death, it is understood that she had been hospitalised for some time at the Rome clinic where she died after undergoing an operation in September for a broken femur.

During the heights of her career, she co-starred alongside the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Rock Hudson and Errol Flynn.

Her film roles include Crossed Swords (1954), the Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956) and Beautiful but Dangerous (1955).

She was regarded as an international sex symbol and, at the time of her death, Lollobrigida was among the last living actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.

When her acting career slowed down, Gina became a photojournalist in the 1970s and later turned to politics.

In 1999, she unsuccessfully ran for election to the European Parliament as a candidate for the Italian Democrats.

Just last year, at the age of 95, Lollobrigida attempted to win a seat in the Senate of the Republic by standing as candidate for the Sovereign and Popular Italy (ISP).

However, she was unsuccessful after garnering just one percent of the constituency vote.

Additional reporting by Gerard Couzens.

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