Jeff Daly/FX

Antonio D'Amico Was An Important Part Of Versace's Life

Ryan Murphy's new drama The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story focuses, as is clear from the title, on the 1997 murder of the iconic fashion designer Gianni Versace, as well as the lives his death impacted. Because of the show, people may be wondering about the real life inspirations for these characters. For example, who is Antonio D'Amico on The Assassination of Gianni Versace? Well, he was Versace's boyfriend of 15 years, and from the looks of things, he has lived a very full and fascinating life so far.

D'Amico, a former model, and Versace met when D'Amico was working as a part-time office executive for the company in 1982. Their relationship eventually grew into a loving and committed one, lasting for 15 years until Versace's murder on the steps of his Miami home. That's not to say that everything was always easy. D'Amico has famously feuded with Versace's sister Donatella Versace, now the creative head of the company. D'Amico recently told the Sun U.K., "When Donatella first came into my life I tried to treat her like she was family but towards the end I thought of her as a monster." He also added, "I saw her as a diva who thought she was the genius in the family."

As for Donatella, The New York Times reported her to have said, "My relationship with Antonio is exactly as it was when Gianni was alive. I respected him as the boyfriend of my brother, but I never liked him as a person." After Versace's death, D'Amico inherited about $30,000 per month, while control of the company went to Versace's family, including Donatella, his brother Santo, and niece Allegra. An article in the Daily News from 1999 reported that Elton John was on D'Amico's side following the murder, and flew to Milan to see his fashion show while the Versace family skipped it, though D'Amico said that Donatella did send him white roses after the murder. At the time a Versace spokesman said, "I don't think there was any intentional slight of Antonio."

Whatever their fraught history might have been at one point, at least D'Amico and the Versace family are united in one point today. And that is a dissatisfaction with Murphy's portrayal of the event. In an interview with The Observer, D'Amico laments that so much of what happened had been fictionalized, and was not at all how he remembered. "The picture of Ricky Martin holding the body in his arms is ridiculous," he said, granting that perhaps the director included this moment for poetic license.

The article in the Observer also stated that D'Amico was not consulted with for the series. However Ricky Martin (who plays D'Amico) told Parade that he and D'Amico spoke about the role. "He was an open book, but he was a little bit afraid of what was going to come out," Martin said of his conversation with D'Amico. But Martin reassured D'Amico that he wanted to focus on the love that D'Amico and Versace had for each other.

As for the Versace family, they have released two statements about the show, which is based on the book Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth. The first says:

The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace. Since Versace did not authorize the book on which it is partly based nor has it taken part in the writing of the screenplay, this TV series should only be considered as a work of fiction.

In response, FX and 20th Century Fox released their own statement supporting Orth's work, referring to it as "heavily researched and authenticated."

The Versace family then released a second statement, claiming they "neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace, which should only be considered as a work of fiction."

The Assassination of Gianni Versace premieres Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. EST on FX.

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