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Berlusconi’s wife seeking divorce

Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s second wife, former actress Veronica Lario, is seeking a divorce after 19 years of marriage, citing his reported flirtations with younger women. Lario’s decision came after she publicly voiced outrage last week over reports that Berlusconi’s political party was lining up TV showgirls and starlets as European Parliament candidates.

world Updated: May 03, 2009 22:19 IST

Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s second wife, former actress Veronica Lario, is seeking a divorce after 19 years of marriage, citing his reported flirtations with younger women, Italian media reported on Sunday.

Lario confirmed reports in La Stampa and La Repubblica dailies that she had retained an attorney to begin separation and divorce proceedings against the billionaire media mogul-turned-politician, the ANSA news agency said.

“I was forced to take this step,” La Stampa quoted Lario as saying in its Sunday editions.

Berlusconi issued a one-line statement saying, “It’s a personal issue that pains me, that is in the private sphere, and which seems necessary not to speak about.”

Lario’s decision came after she publicly voiced outrage last week over reports that Berlusconi’s political party was lining up TV showgirls and starlets as European Parliament candidates. She also lashed out at the premier’s reported attendance of an 18-year-old’s birthday party in Naples.

Lario and Berlusconi met in 1980, wed 10 years later and have three children in their 20s. Berlusconi has two children from his first marriage.

But their marriage has long been rumored to be in trouble _ the two don’t live together _ and it wasn’t the first time that the usually private Lario had publicly complained about her husband’s reported flirtations.