Silvio Berlusconi's 28-year-old girlfriend says she courted the 76-year-old former premier relentlessly until he finally surrendered, and is now just waiting for him to agree to marry her.
In an interview published yesterday in the Italian edition of Vanity Fair, Francesca Pascale described two years of pain and jealousy as Berlusconi responded to the failure of his second marriage by throwing lavish parties for young women. His relationship with a 17-year-old guest at the 'bunga bunga' parties eventually got him convicted of paying for sex with a minor and pressuring public officials to cover it up.
Both he and the woman deny having sex, and an appeal is under way.
how they met
Pascale said she met 'B', as she calls him, in 2006 while working for his political party, though she confessed she set him in her sights much earlier, when she was under 18. "At home my mother said, 'we admire him as well, but he could be your father'," she said.
She nevertheless persisted and professed her love for him in 2009 while he was in a Milan hospital recovering from an attack during a political rally, by an unstable man. By then they were close, but she said they never spent time in private together because he was still married and she wanted to respect his family.
"He told me: 'Don't even talk about it, you're too young, I can't give you the future you deserve'."