A 99-year-old Italian man is divorcing his wife of 77 years after he stumbled across letters she had written to a secret lover in the 1940s.
The damning discovery days before Christmas led the galled grandfather to confront his once two-timing wife immediately, the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported.
The 96-year-old woman, identified in court papers as Rosa C., reportedly confessed to having an affair 60 years ago, and then tried desperately to persuade her hubby to stay.
The scorned nonagenarian, Antonio C., refused and filed for divorce despite a romance spanning nearly seven decades. The couple have five children and numerous grandchildren and great children.
The uncovering of the letters inside an old chest of drawers was the final straw for a relationship that had already been rocky: 10 years ago, the husband moved out to live with one of the sons, but returned weeks later.
The Italian press attributed the bitter break-up to the couple’s southern roots – he is originally from Olbia in Sardinia, while his wife was born in Naples.
The couple had tied the knot in Naples in 1934, where Antonio had met Rosa after he had been sent there to serve in the carabinieri paramilitary police but she had had an affair with her unidentified lover ten years later, keeping the secret to herself until now.
“The husband decided to file for divorce after finding the love letters,” said lawyer Anna Orecchioni. “He felt betrayed and unable to carry on with the marriage which has lasted 77 years.”
She continued: “It made no difference that the letters were written more than 60 years ago and the relationship has been over for decades.”
“He has decided to divorce her and the case has already been submitted for a court hearing in March. It’s a shame the marriage has ended in this way after such a long time together.”
The case appears to set a new record, at least for the age of the oldest protagonist – the previous oldest couple to divorce were Brits – Bertie and Jessie Wood, both aged 98, the Telegraph also reported.
The pair ended their 36-year marriage in 2009 when they were both two years away from their 100th birthdays,
They got married in Elstree, Hertfordshire, in 1972, having both ended previous marriages, before moving to Falmouth, Cornwall four years later.
Meanwhile, American couple Marshall and Winnie Kuykendall hold the current record for the longest marriage having been together for 82 years after they tied the knot on Valentines Day in 1929.