“I was a minor when I first thought of going after him,” Pascale told Vanity Fair Italia in an interview to be published on Wednesday.
Pascale, from Naples, got engaged to the 76-year-old former prime minister in December.
She reportedly orchestrated their first meeting, in 2006, by launching a, “We miss you, Silvio” campaign. But Pascale did not instantly declare her love “because he was a married man”, she told Vanity Fair.
At the time, Berlusconi was married to Veronica Lario, who in 2009 announced their separation and accused him of “frequenting minors”.
Aware of the age gap of nearly half a century, Pascale said the political leader at first rejected her advances, telling her, “You are too young, I can’t give you the future you deserve”.
Despite a warning from her mother – “We admire him too, but he could be your father” – persistence prevailed.
But since the engagement announcement, which came as Berlusconi made a political comeback ahead of national elections, Pascale has kept a low profile.
She has, however, been spotted more often in recent weeks, after Berlusconi was found guilty of tax fraud by Italy’s highest court. The conviction could see him ousted from politics as senators prepare to vote on his political future next month.
Despite his legal woes, Berlusconi told Vanity Fair that his bride-to-be has brought him joy and restored his faith in love. “In all the most painful situations over the past few years, Francesca has been close to me,” he said.
In addition to the tax conviction, Berlusconi is currently appealing a conviction for having sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his office when prime minister.