When acclaimed Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot and killed outside his Miami Beach mansion in 1997, the first person to find him was not a neighbor or the police, but his boyfriend of 15 years, Antonio D'Amico. The heartbreaking moment, and all the events that followed, have been dramatized in the new FX series, American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (writer: Maureen Orth). But where is Antonio D'Amico in 2018?
Since the death of his longtime partner at the hands of Andrew Cunanan, D'Amico has kept a low profile. In an interview with The Guardian, D'Amico revealed that he has found love again after the tragic death of Versace, and now lives with his partner in northern Italy. He has also reentered the fashion world — D'Amico was once a designer for the Versace sports line — with a new golf sportswear collection.
"Sincerely, after two decades, I will always be connected to Gianni as a person I loved for more than 15 years,” D’Amico said in the interview. “But today, I am a different person … the world continues to go around … You can look back at the past until a certain point, [but] then you need to look ahead to the future.”
The fashion designer decided to speak out to The Guardian after seeing photos of Ricky Martin, who plays D'Amico in the series, from the set of American Crime Story (executive producer: Nina Jacobson). The photos seemed to depict the moment when D'Amico found Versace's body, and D'Amico was upset with how the fictionalized version of that moment differed radically from his memory of how the events played out. He told The Guardian:
“The picture of Ricky Martin holding the body in his arms is ridiculous ... Maybe it’s the director’s poetic license, but that is not how I reacted.”
D'Amico told The Guardian that far from weeping over his boyfriend's body, he was dragged away from the scene after he and Versace's butler went to investigate the source of the sound of gunshots. “The house had stained glass windows so we couldn’t see what had happened from inside, so we had to open the gate," D'Amico shared. "I saw Gianni lying on the steps, with blood around him. At that point, everything went dark. I was pulled away, I didn’t see any more.”
After the Italian fashion designer voiced his criticisms of the show's depiction of his actions at the scene of the crime, Ricky Martin spoke to D'Amico in an attempt to alleviate his concerns. The actor told Ocean Drive Magazine, "I had the opportunity to speak to Antonio a few months ago, and I said, ‘Antonio, listen, maybe you’ve seen a couple of paparazzi shots of the actual scenes that we’re shooting, but please don’t judge the quality of it just by one picture because it could easily be taken out of context. You have to see what we’re doing, and you’re going to be so pleased with everything.’" Whether Martin was able to change D'Amico's mind concerning the series is unclear. D'Amico has not spoken out further publicly.
Though Versace and D'Amico were together for over a decade, the rest of the Versace family were reportedly not exactly close with the fashion icon's chosen partner. According to The Guardian, Versace's will left D'Amico with a monthly pension of about $30,000 for life, as well as the right to live in Versace's homes. But, because the homes actually belonged to the Versace company, Versace's siblings Donatella and Santo, as well as his niece Allegra, received control of the properties. D'Amico reportedly received only a fraction of the pension he was promised. The rift between Donatella Versace and D'Amico had already existed before the battle over Versace's will, as the sister of the fashion mogul shared in an interview with The New York Times. "My relationship with Antonio is exactly as it was when Gianni was alive," she said. "I respected him as the boyfriend of my brother, but I never liked him as a person. So the relationship stayed the same.''
D'Amico told The Guardian that after Versace's death, he struggled with depression for years:
“I had never been through a depression and never saw a therapist as I was advised to: why did I need to tell someone else what had happened when I knew I was this way because Gianni’s death had torn me in two? I was in a nightmare, I felt nothing and gave no importance to anything … the house, the money … because it felt false to have expectations of life.”
But D'Amico was able to overcome his depression, and finally began to live life again. He told The Guardian he doesn't plan to watch American Crime Story, and it makes sense that the sportswear designer would not want to relive the traumatic events it dramatizes. D'Amico hasn't forgotten, but he has moved forward.