You know that one relationship that you look back on and think, “What the hell was going through my mind for that many years/months/days? I dodged a bullet with that one!” Now imagine that relationship splashed across the front pages of the tabloids right after you broke up. That’s the tabloid hell that Get Smart star Anne Hathaway is experiencing right now, after her freshly dumped boyfriend (the two split last week) Rafaello Follieri was busted yesterday in a bizarre swindle that includes the Catholic Church and billionaire Ron Burkle among its cast of characters.
Follieri allegedly swindled investors out of millions by claiming he was the Chief Financial Officer of the Vatican. (Yes, you read that correctly.) He told investors that he was buying Catholic Church properties in the United States at a discount. The money instead was spent on lavish gifts and medical expenses for Hathaway, an apartment in Trump Tower and chartered planes.
The Post dedicates the whole of page one to the story, with a big picture of Follieri and Hathaway and the banner headline “VATI-CON.” Inside, the story takes up all of pages 6 and 7 and there’s a passing mention of it in Page Six. (Thanks to the long lead time of monthly magazines, interviews with celebrities are conducted several weeks, even months in advance, and this month’s issue of In Style features Hathaway gushing about Follieri.) One coup the Post has is a blurry photo of Follieri, Hathaway, Burkle, Mikhail Baryshnikov, former Democratic National Committee chief Terry McAulliffe and Bill Clinton hanging out at Oscar de la Renta’s home in the Dominican Republic.
The News has a short piece on the arrest, and features a courtroom sketch of the arraignment. Follieri remains in jail on $21 million bail. The prohibitive amount was set because prosecutors fear the Italian national has access to offshore bank accounts and could be a flight risk. Follieri also collapsed after the hearing, which the News describes as “some sort of attack” and the Post reports that prosecutors said he tested positive for opiates.
A rep for Hathaway tells the Post, “It is highly unlikely we will ever comment.” This might the second smart thing the actress has done with regard to this relationship, after ditching Follieri.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 25, 2008