UPDATE (July 5, 2018, 10:50am) Colin Firth and his wife Livia have now settled out of court in the stalking case against Marco Brancaccia (detailed below). A statement released to PEOPLE, which included the lawyers for both parties, stated: "In the best interests of their families, the parties have agreed a private settlement. Therefore the parties have asked the court for a postponement of the preliminary hearing in order to formalize the agreement. From this point on, this agreement precludes any further public statement by any of the parties about this matter."
The original story continues below.
Romantic affairs happen frequently in Hollywood — that's just the way it works. But, the scandal that just broke between Colin Firth and his wife Livia Giuggioli has us reeling, and almost seems like a made-for-the-movies plot line itself.
Here's what's going down: Giuggioli, who's been married to Firth for more than 20 years, has been privately dealing with an alleged stalker. The Italian jounalist, Marco Brancaccia, had apparently left frightening messages for Giuggioli, and police were said to be looking into the issue. But, it recently came to light that Brancaccia and Giuggioli had a more intimate past than one might expect.
In a joint statement made to Entertainment Tonight, Firth and his wife shared: "A few years ago Colin and Livia privately made the decision to separate. During that time Livia briefly became involved with former friend Mr. Brancaccia. The Firths have since reunited." Wait, what?
The statement went on to say: "Subsequently, Mr. Brancaccia carried out a frightening campaign of harassment over several months, much of which is documented. As a consequence of his stalking, threats, and refusal to desist, the legal complaint was lodged with the Italian authorities. The reporting this week on this case is understood to be the consequence of a leaked court document. This is greatly to be regretted. It does not serve the interests of any of the parties involved."
Brancaccia has denied the allegations of stalking — though not of the affaid. Speaking to The Times, he said: "[Livia] wanted to leave Colin for me [between 2015 and 2016.] My ‘stalking’ consisted of two messages via WhatsApp after she ended our relationship in June 2016, and an email. I wrote an email to Colin about my relationship with Livia, which I now regret sending, and she filed a complaint against me for stalking out of fear that I could go public with what she had revealed to me about her marriage and work."
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