TV & Movies

Yes, Salma Hayek’s Character In House Of Gucci Is Real

Patrizia Regianni’s former friend, Giuseppina “Pina” Auriemma, helped her plan a murder.

In the Ridley Scott crime film House of Gucci, Salma Hayek plays Giuseppina "Pina" Auriemma, a psych...
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc./Gillian Smith Chang

These days, Gucci is a powerhouse luxury brand known for its colorful, campy styles worn by the likes of Harry Styles, Dakota Johnson, and Jared Leto. But in the ’90s, the Italian fashion house was marred by crime and familial betrayal — and thanks to the new film House of Gucci, the drama is once again top of mind.

The Ridley Scott-directed film, based on Sara Gay Forden’s 2001 book of the same name, follows socialite Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) and fashion heir Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) as they fall in love, marry, and eventually sour on one another — culminating in 1995, when Reggiani hired a hitman to kill her onetime husband.

But Patrizia and Maurizio aren’t the only controversial characters in the Gucci orbit. Salma Hayek’s character in House of Gucci, Giuseppina “Pina” Auriemma, is a particularly interesting figure. Patrizia’s longtime friend, psychic, and murder accomplice is such a strange presence in the film that fans might even wonder if she was fabricated — but Pina Auriemma was indeed real, and she did really help Patrizia plan a murder. Below, everything to know about the real Giuseppina “Pina” Auriemma.

Pina and Patrizia were so close, they even moved in together.

According to Forden’s book, Patrizia and Maurizio met Pina at a health spa and became extremely close, eventually spending summers together in Capri. Forden writes, “Pina’s sarcastic Neapolitan banter and skill with tarot cards entertained Patrizia for hours.” Patrizia even convinced her husband to let Pina open a franchised Gucci store in Naples. (The shop was later turned over to an associate.)

The book also details how, following the couple’s separation, Pina talked Patrizia out of considering suicide. Patrizia told Forden of her friend, “She stayed by me in the moment of my deepest depression,” adding, “she saved my life.”

The two were so close that Pina even moved in with Patrizia in 1994 to help her write a book about her marriage to Maurizio. Patrizia had undergone surgery for a brain tumor two years earlier, and she didn’t trust her own memories; Pina, as her longtime confidant, was tasked with piecing them together.

Pina hired Maurizio’s assassin.

Maurizio was murdered by a hitman on Mar. 27, 1995 on his way to the office — and it was Pina who found the assassin, on Patrizia’s orders. Pina enlisted the help of her friend Ivano Savioni, who, in turn, asked pizzeria owner Orazio Cicala to find a willing murderer. That hitman ended up being Benedetto Ceraulo.

After Maurizio’s death, Patrizia and Pina did their best to keep a low profile. They took to exchanging coded messages to avoid raising any red flags, though Pina still received a monthly stipend from her friend. It took two years for the police to collect enough evidence to put Pina, Patrizia, and their hired guns on trial.

Pina was labeled the “Black Witch,” but she denied being a sorcerer.

During the trial, the media dubbed Patrizia the “Black Widow,” and called Pina the “Black Witch.” Although she had seemed to subscribe to magical beliefs, at the trial, Pina stated that she had no real occult powers.

In the film, Pina’s clairvoyant ways are highlighted. Rather than a meeting at a spa, House of Gucci sees Patrizia first connect with Pina via a fortune-telling TV show.

Pina was sentenced to 25 years but was ultimately released early.

After months and months of keeping her silence, Pina finally confessed to the police. Per Forden, it was Patrizia who inspired her to flip, after she “delivered a secret message to [Pina’s] cell via another inmate, offering to ‘shower her cell with gold’ if she took all the blame for Maurizio’s murder.” By then, Pina had already turned 52, and didn’t want to take the fall and the accompanying prison sentence. Her confession helped convict Patrizia, who was sentenced to 29 years in prison (but eventually only served 16, due to good behavior).

Pina, meanwhile, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for acting as the middleman. (The three men whom Pina had pulled into the plot were also found guilty, but only the one who pulled the trigger was sentenced to life imprisonment.) Pina was released six years early in 2010 for good behavior.

Though Patrizia maintained throughout the trial that Pina set her up, her story changed after she was released. In 2016, The Guardian reported that when asked by a reality TV crew why she hired a hitman instead of shooting Maurizio herself, she replied, “My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.” She echoed these sentiments in the Discovery+ documentary Lady Gucci: The story of Patrizia Reggiani, which was released last March. In a sit-down interview, Patrizia said, “My thought was I was protecting my daughters,” adding, “I went around asking the butcher and so on, ‘Is anyone here brave enough to kill my husband?’” She went on to reiterate that she “can’t aim straight,” so she “had to find the right people who would do it for me.”

Pina still talks about Maurizio’s murder.

It’s unclear what Pina has been up to since her release, but she definitely doesn’t shy away from talking about the incident. Like Patrizia, she also participated in the Lady Gucci doc, and didn’t mince words — she fully blamed Patrizia’s hurt ego for their whole ordeal. Patrizia was “humiliated” because Maurizio “found another woman,” Pina said, adding, “Something snapped in her. Maybe it was a blow to her narcissism.” She later said, “She’d asked all of Milan to find a murderer. Nobody took her seriously. I was the only fool.”