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Elisabetta Gregoraci

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Elisabetta Gregoraci (born February 8, 1980) is an Italian TV showgirl. She was born in Soverato, province of Catanzaro, Calabria, Italy. As a child, she had various career aspirations, including being a police woman and a detective. This was based on her mom's tough stance on good and evil, which rubbed off on Elisabetta and her sister. Justice and crime-fighting didn't prove to be in the cards for Elisabetta, but another one of her early wishes most certainly was. Using her mom's brush, she would speak into a "microphone," look in the mirror and imagine herself on television.

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Before she took her first steps in show business, Elisabetta focused her efforts on education. A diploma in accounting in 1998 came first, and she followed it up with a move to Rome and a degree in modern dance. Rome and dance proved to be a winning combination for Elisabetta, since it inspired her to compete for the title of Miss Italy in 1997. She didn't win, but it gave her new ideas about working in the entertainment field and using her beauty as a way in.

Elisabetta used her pageantry exposure to join the world of cinema in 1999. She made three films in a row: Il cielo in una stanza, C'era un cinese in coma and Si sente che sono calabrese.

As a result of her film experiences, Elisabetta was offered a spot on the Italian TV series Euro 2000. Her success on the show made her a TV staple, and Euro was her first of nine television series. Elisabetta's most popular television endeavor, however, was as a dancer on Libero, but she also found success off-camera as a model. In 2004, she replaced Eva Herzigova as the face and body of Wonderbra, and she also took on additional modeling chores for Armani and Dolce & Gabbana.

In 2006, Elisabetta was caught in a scandal involving Salvatore Sottile, a high-ranking spokesperson for Italy's foreign ministry. Allegedly, they engaged in a sexual relationship to secure her a television spot, but neither was charged with any wrongdoing. Though Elisabetta denied that anything sexual took place, she had previously stated in ample detail that there had indeed been a relationship. In any case, it did little to harm her career, and the tabloid exposure landed her a commercial gig as the face of a mobile phone company.

Since the scandal in 2006, Elisabetta remained strong in her career and personal life. She found love with Flavio Briatore, the Team Principal of the Renault team on the Formula 1 circuit. The doubters balked at their 31-year age difference, but all bets were off when the couple became engaged and announced a 2008 wedding.

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  • 1 month later...

Flavio Briatore married top model Elisabetta Gregoraci in lavish style here (Rome),Saturday serenaded by British pop group Duran Duran.

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone himself witnessed the union along with Benetton group chairman Luciano Benetton and right-wing politician Daniela Santanche, while the more than 300 guests also included Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Spain's former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar.

French Cardinal Paul Poupard celebrated what the Italian press has dubbed the "wedding of the year," uniting the 58-year-old playboy and Gregoraci, 28, in the 12th-century Santo Spirito in Sassia near the Vatican.

"I'm as excited as if a Grand Prix race was starting," Briatore was quoted as saying, with press reports noting that his bride had coaxed him towards faith, along with a health scare in 2006, when kidney cancer was averted through an early diagnosis.

Some 500 hours went into creating the gown worn by Gregorachi, a former Miss Calabria, the Italian press reported.

Afterward, Briatore's Spanish protege Fernando Alonso drove the newlyweds to the reception at the Castello di Torcrescenza, a sumptuous castle residence just north of Rome.

Festivities had began Friday with a dinner at the posh Casina Valadier, and were to continue Saturday.

Briatore, one of the richest men in Formula One, was behind the emergence of Michael Schumacher with Benetton in the 1990s and Alonso with Renault.

The unabashed party animal and quintessential Italian playboy has chalked up an impressive array of romantic conquests including Naomi Campbell, Nicole Kidman, Heidi Klum and Vanessa Kelly.

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