Nicoletta Mantovani, Luciano Pavarotti's Widow Denies Family Feud Over Will

Nicoletta Mantovani, Luciano Pavarotti's widow has spoken out saying she hoped a media furor over the late opera star's inheritance would soon be over and insisted the tenor was in no way mentally impaired when he made his final will.

In a TV interview Nicoletta Mantovani, the singer's second wife, 34 years his junior, said she had no quarrel with his three daughters from his first marriage who are older than herself -- the subject of media speculation since Pavarotti's death last month.

Italian media have speculated that Pavarotti signed his last will, leaving his US assets including a New York apartment to her, while too sick to know what he was doing. An Italian magistrate has said he may look into the press reports.

The trust controlling Pavarotti's US assets is reported to be worth 15 million euros. His total fortune is estimated at up to 300 million euros ($431.1 million).

In her first interview since Pavarotti died of pancreatic cancer aged 71, Mantovani said she felt she was being treated like Yoko Ono, John Lennon's second wife, who was often vilified by Beatles fans.

"They paint me as someone who coerced (Pavarotti). It's totally unfounded," she told RAI 3 television.

"Between me and the daughters, there's no disagreement at all," Mantovani said, pointing out that the adult children were sisters to Alice, her four-year daughter by Pavarotti.

"Luciano's most important wish was that we all got on."

Mantovani said the value of the New York flat should be taken off any share of the rest of Pavarotti's estate and that should solve any argument with the other side of the family.

The rare interview was aimed at ending speculation she had conned Pavarotti, with whom she had a 14-year long relationship and whom she married in 2003.

"As long as they were just insulting me, ok then, I'm here, I can defend myself, but Luciano can't," she said.

Mantovani also confirmed media reports that she had the nerve disease multiple sclerosis, saying it was diagnosed just six months into her relationship with Pavarotti.

"The first thing he said was: 'I like everything about you'. What was fundamental for me was the acceptance from Luciano. 'Your illness is part of you, it's like part of your character'."

Mantovani said she had received a letter of support from John Lennon's widow. "Yoko Ono wanted to express her solidarity, she was very kind, I think she understands absolutely what I am going through."


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