Is House of Gucci Based on a True Story?

Ridley Scott’s ‘House of Gucci’ is a crime drama film that revolves around the turbulent relationship between Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) and Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) which culminates in the former ordering a hit on the latter. Exploring the underbelly of the Italian luxury label, the film dives into the glamorous world and cut-throat politics of Gucci. The film also sees Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek, Al Pacino, and Jared Leto in pivotal roles.

Praised for its acting performances and fantastic costumes, the film is a must-watch for anybody interested in dynastic businesses, fashion houses, shocking crimes, and the long-lasting allure of Gucci. Its realistic premise and in-depth examination of greed, jealousy, and a thirst for power make many fans curious about the amount of truth in the film. Is it full of fact or fiction? Let’s find out whether ‘House of Gucci’ is based on a true story.

Is House of Gucci a True Story?

Yes, ‘House of Gucci’ is based on a true story. Scott’s film is based on Sara Gay Forden’s 2001 book ‘The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed’ which explores the real-life assassination of Maurizio Gucci outside his office on Via Palestro on March 27, 1995. And yes, Gucci was murdered by a hitman hired by his former wife, Patrizia Reggiani.

Image Credit: Fabio Lovino/Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

Amongst layers of greed, anger, and the internal politics of the dynastic label, the true story behind Gucci’s murder is found. In 1997, a tip-off by a chance informant, who became privy to a discussion about the killing, led to the arrest of Reggiani and four others, including the hitman, Benedetto Ceraulo, and the getaway driver, Orazio Cicala. Reggiani, referred to as “the black widow” by the Italian media, was found guilty of plotting her ex-husband’s murder and sentenced to 29 years in prison. Later, her sentence was reduced to 26 years on appeal; ultimately, she was released after 18 years due to good behavior.

In 2014, when an Italian television show crew accosted Reggiani and asked her why she didn’t shoot her husband herself, she irritably stated, “My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.” However, in later years, she openly respected the court’s decision and implied that she had paid her dues. Her trial highlighted that she had approached her clairvoyant, Pina Auriemma (Hayek), and asked her to find someone to kill her ex-husband.

Auriemma reached out to Ceraulo and Cicala. Reggiani maintained for quite some time that she was being framed by Auriemma. However, in the 2021 documentary ‘Lady Gucci: The Story Of Patrizia Reggiani,’ she admitted, “I was furious with Maurizio. I went around asking everyone, even the local grocer, is there someone who has the courage to murder my husband?”

Reggiani’s initially shy ex-husband Gucci was the director of and an heir to the company founded by Guccio Gucci in 1920; he eventually became a spendthrift and often clashed with his relatives for control. A series of bad personal and professional financial decisions, as well as an inability to profitably run the fashion house, led to Gucci selling the company in 1993 to Investcorp for $120m. The film explores this and focuses on Paolo Gucci (Leto), Rodolfo Gucci (Irons), and Aldo Gucci (Pacino) as well.

Gucci and Reggiani separated in 1985 and got divorced in 1994, but she saw his act of selling the company as the ultimate betrayal. “I was angry with Maurizio about many, many things at that time. But above all, this. Losing the family business,” said Reggiani. “It was stupid. It was a failure. I was filled with rage, but there was nothing I could do. He shouldn’t have done that to me.” Some reports claim that Reggiani was also jealous of Gucci’s girlfriend, Paola Franchi, whom he wished to marry.

Gaga’s Patrizia attempts to capture Reggiani’s all-consuming passion for the Italian label, albeit with a stylized dramatic flair. The film also looks at how Reggiani charms the initially bookish Gucci and slowly climbs the social ladder whilst rubbing shoulders with the richest of the rich. Thus, it covers several pertinent incidents during the years between Gucci and Reggiani’s highly publicized marriage in 1972 and subsequent divorce. But most of all, it emphasizes Reggiani’s unbreakable connection with the label. “They [Gucci] need me. I still feel like a Gucci – in fact, the most Gucci of them all,” she expressed in 2014. She has two daughters with Gucci, named Alessandra and Allegra.

Image Credit: Rai/YouTube

Thus, ‘House of Gucci’ is a fascinating exploration of the true story behind a real-life crime that rocked the world of high fashion. Although Guccio Gucci’s great-grandchildren were displeased with the film’s approach to the label and their family members, Scott maintained that the topics, particularly those pertaining to the crimes, are in the public domain. The story of Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci is a reminder that underneath the luxe life of fashion moguls, we often find horrifyingly intense feelings of resentment, complicated personal and professional relations, and unchecked pursuits of power.

Read More: Where Was House of Gucci Filmed?