Patrizia Pellegrino: ”I escaped attempted violence, I return with Lolita Lobosco”

The showgirl at Adnkronos: ”When I lost my son I wanted to die, Corrado made me cry”

Patrizia Pellegrino returns to TV in the role of the doctor’s wife who solves Lolita Lobosco’s cases, in the third season of the Rai1 drama ‘The investigations of Inspector Lolita Lobosco’ with Luisa Ranieri, broadcast in prime time since March. Pellegrino herself anticipated this in an exclusive interview with Adnkronos, adding: ”It’s been a long time since I took part in a fiction series, mine is a new character, let’s hope it works so I can also participate in the next series”. The actress, singer and dancer, idol of the 80s for her hypnotic beauty and her sweet and engaging voice, talks about her long career divided between television, music, cinema and theater and her painful private life, marked by loss of a son, the betrayal of her second husband and an attempted sexual assault that was never revealed.

Experiences that marked her deeply but which Pellegrino always tried to face ”with a smile”, as she says in her new book entitled ‘I chose to smile’: ”I believe that telling my experiences, which are common to many women – she underlines – can help many people understand how to recover their smile despite the dramas that life brings. When I met Prince Albert of Monaco (her ex-boyfriend, ed.) the first thing he said to me was: ‘You must always smile because you have the same smile as my mother (Grace Kelly, ed.)’. This is why I started writing this book where I explain how important a smile is, even when difficult and painful moments arrive that bring you to the point of no longer wanting to live, as happened to me”.

”When I lost my first son Riccardo (from my first husband Pietro Antisari Vittori, ed.) I wanted to die – she says emotionally – He left us as soon as he was born so we didn’t even have time to meet him. That was such a dramatic moment that I fell into a deep depression. It was my work, my theater and the love of the public that gave me the strength to carry on. The fact that I still had to go on stage gave me the push to get up and recover from that profound pain. Prayer and God also helped me a lot, I have always been a very believer, I went to church since I was little and I believe very much in Padre Pio and Mother Teresa of Calcutta who are my idols in life. Then obviously my family had a fundamental role because they have always been close to me, dad was the love of my life in fact I, in all men, have always looked for my father’s eyes. Even my friends have never abandoned me.”

After the loss of her son, the showgirl began adoption procedures ”because they told me that I couldn’t have any more children due to an infection I had after giving birth – she says – Then I learned that there was a doctor who was very good at Milan, I went to him and after I had already adopted Gregory I became pregnant with Tommaso. Then Arianna arrived, although due to a problem linked to a disease called ‘hydrops fetalis’, I had to give birth early. In fact, I went to Bologna – continues Pellegrino – where they gave birth to her at 6 months old, very small and with serious brain problems. Unfortunately she is disabled, she cannot walk, but fortunately psychologically she is fine. She is now almost 25 years old, I did everything to make her independent. Now she takes small steps around the house but she can’t walk alone and this naturally makes me suffer a lot”.

”I was also very unlucky in love – continues the actress – when my husband (Stefano Todini, ed.) cheated on me with another woman 20 years younger than me and the story became public knowledge, I fell into a deep depression. I believed in this man a lot, I married him and started another family with him, so finding out that he was leaving me for someone younger than me hurt me a lot. Now I have a partner, he is a manager who I never talk about because he doesn’t want to be involved”. Pellegrino began her very long career at just 17 years old: ”The first thing I did was the protagonist of the fiction ‘Petrosinella’, taken from the fables of Basile’s ‘Pentamerone’. I was a minor and my parents accompanied me to Rai every day because I couldn’t work without their signature”.

On her relationship with beauty, Pellegrino admits: “It was very important for my career but it was also the cause of many problems. I suffered numerous harassment, even from very important people but I always knew how to defend myself well both for my moral integrity that for my faith, I have never made compromises of any kind. I have never tolerated those who put their hands on me and having said many ‘no’ they slammed many doors in my face”. And she reveals: “Fifteen years ago I suffered an attempted sexual assault, I never told anyone, I was very scared, it was a very important person in the world of entertainment who locked me in his office and started putting his hands on me. Luckily I managed to escape, I was already married and had three children, it was a very traumatic experience for me”.

Returning to her professional life and her debut on the small screen, Pellegrino fondly remembers Corrado: “He chose me to work with him on ‘Gran Canal’, he was a wonderful man, he had a humanity that was out of the ordinary, he was very paternal but also very harsh. The first great reproach I suffered in my life was given to me by him himself – he says – I remember that when I entered the Teatro delle Vittorie to present the theme song ‘Bang’ Corrado told me: ‘Never allow yourself to enter a television studio again without saying goodbye to the operators, the director and the cameramen. I must admit that for me it was a great life lesson but being scolded in that way by a person I respected very much and at the beginning of my career was hard and I started to cry. so in every television studio, in every theater and in every place where I go to work I greet everyone and make myself available to the set and the people I know”.

And Peppino di Capri? ”He was one of my first discoverers – continues Pellegrino – he came to the San Carlo Theater to select a girl to sing ‘Champagne’ for a program of the time called ‘Odeon’ and he chose me to do the theme song. I made my debut singing.” The Showgirl also posed for the cover of ‘Playmen’ which decreed the end of her relationship with Prince Albert of Monaco: ”We were together for a long time, being his girlfriend was very princely – she jokes – the thing that broke the our feeling was the cover I did on ‘Playmen’. He told me clearly that he could no longer be with me and I accepted it also because I wasn’t in love with him, maybe I liked the idea of ​​being with a prince,” she admits.

”I have never regretted doing that cover – underlines the actress – if you show yourself naked in a non-vulgar way and it is something that is part of your career I don’t find anything wrong with it. I worked with the greatest photographers of that period such as Angelo Frontoni who was the only one to take that type of photo and who once told me: ‘You must not think that what you do is wrong but that beauty does part of your job’. Among Pellegrino’s many suitors also Diego Armando Maradona: “We went to dinner with some friends and he tried all evening in an absurd way but I told him clearly: ‘Look, you’re the king of Naples, I don’t like you at all”, he remembers bursting into laughter.

Always passionate about theatre, the actress explains why she then decided to participate in two reality shows (‘L’isola dei Famosi’ and ‘Gf Vip’, ed.) “For 20 years now, television has given space above all to reality shows – he states – at the time I only did theater and I liked the idea of ​​alternating it with television. At first I didn’t want to take part in ‘Island of the Famous’ but in the end they convinced me and it was very hard: it’s the craziest experience absurd thing I’ve ever done, in fact I never talk about it. However, with Alfonso Signorini it was different because, even though I was only in the ‘Gf Vip’ house for two weeks, I was able to work alongside Alfonso in the studio for three months, who gave space for me like Patrizia Pellegrini and I will always be grateful to her. It was an experience that I enjoyed very much. When I left the ‘Gf Vip’ house I had the opportunity to talk for half an hour, on live television, about everything my life and people loved me so much. That’s why I decided to write the book ‘I chose to smile”, concludes the showgirl.

(by Alisa Toaff)