Despite the age gap of nearly half a century between Berlusconi and 29-year-old Pascale, the former showgirl was determined to win the heart of the former prime minister.
“I started to adore him in an obsessive way,” Pascale says in a new book, Italian Turncoats (Italiani Voltagabbana), by Bruno Vespa.
Growing up in Naples, Pascale admits to having always had “a difficult relationship with my father”, who worked as a wedding photographer. Her mother, who died in 2007, was “the first Berlusconi supporter in the family”, but disapproved of her daughter’s love for the older political leader.
Nevertheless, Pascale pursued Berlusconi, who she met in Rome after co-founding the “We miss you Silvio” fan club in 2006. “We followed the president [Berlusconi] everywhere,” she recalls.
Berlusconi took her number and within a couple of days had flown her, along with her fan club friends, to his Sardinian villa.
“Nothing happened” between them, Pascale says, as the ex-premier was at the time married to Veronica Lario. It would be another six “difficult” years before Berlusconi went public about their relationship in 2012.
The Forza Italia leader at first rejected Pascale’s advances, she says, telling her: “I really care about you, but half a century in age difference is insurmountable.
“I can’t give you a future,” the Italian billionaire lamented.
Pascale admits to attending “some of the famous ‘elegant dinners’”, otherwise known as the “bunga bunga” parties frequented by call girls in fancy dress.
“I got to know almost all of the women that besieged the president and I was very jealous of all of them,” Pascale says of Berlusconi’s numerous admirers.
But perseverance paid off for Pascale, who has been at Berlusconi’s side since their relationship was announced in December 2012.
Despite his penchant for tough political speeches, Berlusconi is “very loving, fun, ironic, tireless” at home, Pascale says.
She calls him “love” in private, but switches to “president” in public. Despite their constant fighting, Pascale happily says she and Berlusconi are currently looking for a home together in Rome.