The day after reports appeared in the Italian press that his wife was seeking a divorce, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has confirmed his 19-year marriage is over.
"I am worried and upset," the billionaire politician and dad-of-three said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa published on Monday. "We have maintained a difficult situation together for the love of our children, but now it's over."
In another report the 72-year-old was asked if his marriage to Veronica Lario could survive. "I don't think so, and I don’t know if I want to save it this time," he replied, noting that even if Veronica apologized publicly: "I don't know if that would be enough".
The row was sparked last week when 52-year-old Veronica wrote an open letter complaining about her husband's inappropriate choice of female candidates to stand in European Union elections set for June.
However Mr Berlusconi said his wife had been misinformed about his list of candidates because of inaccurate reporting.
Two years ago, Mr Berlusconi issued a public apology to his wife after she was upset over complimentary comments he made to a TV presenter who joined his cabinet.
"Please forgive me, and take this public testimony ... as an act of love, one among many," he said after Veronica wrote a letter to a daily paper demanding his contrition, which she said he had failed to show in private.