Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced on Friday that she had divorced her television journalist spouse Andrea Giambruno, who had come under fire in recent weeks for making sexist remarks.
Meloni told reporters last month that she would not be judged based on Giambruno’s words and would not answer questions about his behavior in the future.
The split comes as the 46-year-old prime minister celebrates her first year in office at the head of a right-wing coalition government that has defended the traditional family as one of its policy hallmarks.
“My relationship with Andrea Giambruno, which lasted almost 10 years, ends here,” Meloni wrote on her social media accounts. “Our paths have diverged for some time, and the time has come to acknowledge it,” she added.
Meloni said she would not be distracted by difficulties in her private life, adding, “all those who hoped to weaken me by striking me at home,” would have no success.
Pollster Antonio Noto said the affair would have little effect on voting intentions but would probably improve Meloni’s standing in the eyes of most of the electorate.
“With what she did today she has probably created a stronger bond with the Italians,” he said, noting that most comments on social media had been favourable to her.
Meloni and Giambruno, who met in a TV studio in 2014, have a seven-year-old daughter.
Giambruno, 42, is the presenter of a news programme transmitted by Mediaset, part of the MFE (MFEB.MI) media group owned by the heirs of the late Silvio Berlusconi, a former prime minister and Meloni ally.
This week, another Mediaset satirical current affairs television show broadcast off-air video excerpts from Giambruno’s programme showing him using foul language, touching his groin and appearing to make advances to a female colleague.
“Why didn’t I meet you before?”, he asks her.
In a second audio recording aired on Thursday, Giambruno is heard talking about being in an affair and telling female colleagues they can work with him if they take part in group sex.
The TV journalist had been widely criticised in August for comments interpreted by many as victim-blaming, following a gang rape case.
Giambruno was not immediately available for comment.
Mediaset said later on Friday that he had agreed with the company that he would be taken off his programme for the next week.
A person familiar with the matter said Mediaset was looking into Giambruno’s position to assess whether he had breached its internal code of conduct.
Marco Furfaro of the opposition Democratic Party said Giambruno’s comments were “pure chauvinism and sexism…. uncommentable filth.”