When Rossano Rubicondi married Ivana Trump at Mar-A-Lago — the luxury Palm Beach club and resort owned by her second spouse, Donald Trump — in 2008, the Italian left made it clear he viewed himself as a champion-grade husband.
“Rossano trotted down the big spiral staircase and onto the outside terrace, where around 400 guests” — and a 12-foot-tall wedding cake — “were in attendance. He was fist pumping to the ‘Rocky’ theme,” R. Couri Hay, the press agent who was a guest, told The Post. “Usually the bride enters from there and gets all the attention. But Rossano was such a proud peacock that he couldn’t help himself. Some of guests were appalled.”
Rubicondi died last Friday, at age 49, from complications related to melanoma. The ruggedly handsome actor and Ivana had a relationship that was both checkered and modern: Though their marriage was kaput by 2009, they remained an on-again/off-again couple for the better part of a decade and appeared together on the Italian version of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2018. Although Ivana told Page Six in 2019 that the romance had “ran its course,” her feelings for Rubicondi seemed to linger.
Upon hearing of his passing, she told People magazine, “I’m devastated.”
Prior to their wedding, though, she might have had other words for the man that Hay referred to as a “stud muffin.”
Weeks before the ceremony, according to Town & Country, Palm Beach Police responded to what was described as a domestic disturbance over the couple’s pre-nuptial agreement. Apparently, there was plenty to argue over: At the time of the wedding, Ivana was said to be worth some $30 million, derived via her divorce settlement from Donald plus business ventures that included a perfume and two books.
The altercation ended with Rubicondi in handcuffs, but no charges were filed and eventually the $3 million wedding went on as planned. Although Ivana’s oldest son, Don Jr., made an unsettling comment to Rubicondi during a toast: “We are a construction company and we have job sites; we lose people. You better treat her right, because I have a .45 and a shovel.”
Rubicondi was born in Rome and blessed with good looks. He landed in London where he worked as a model and got bit by the acting bug. Fittingly, his first role, in a 1997 movie called “The Eighteenth Angel,” has him credited as “model.” By the time he met Ivana in 2002, the then-30-year-old actor had four movie credits under his belt and was still model handsome.
His career may have stalled out, but those in the know viewed the relationship as mutually beneficial.
“I saw him as a good-looking walker for Ivana, and that was how most people saw him,” said Hay. “He was 23 years younger than Ivana. After an ugly divorce with Donald, she needed emotional support and assurance that she remain young and attractive.”
Soon after the marriage was consummated, Rubicondi was cast on an Italian reality show called “L’isola dei Famosi” — “Island of the Famous,” basically like “Survivor” for celebrities. A source, at the time, commented on Rubicondi being “huge in Italy” and “bragging to anyone who’ll listen about all the hot girls who want him. He hasn’t spent a night alone in ages.”
In May 2009, Ivana told People magazine, “We are separated but not divorcing. He is working [in Italy] and I am here. It’s not a 24-7 marriage, but we’re both enjoying it.” They ended up divorcing just a year after the wedding.
One person who was unsurprised about things falling apart was Ivana’s ex, Donald. “I was extremely skeptical [of the marriage],” Trump told The Post at the time of the split. “And when I got to know him I was not a fan of everything I saw.”
Despite it all, though, Rubicondi, who was an avid tennis player and enjoyed scooting around his adopted hometown of Miami on a Vespa, had no trouble turning women into serious fans.
In 2009, months before the split with Ivana, he was photographed in Rome, at lunch with Milu Vimo, an attractive blonde and successful real estate agent in Miami.
Freshly divorced, he tied the knot with Vimo in 2011. Though that marriage did not last either, some of Vimo’s friends remember Rubicondi fondly.
“To me, this guy was never anything but cordial and a gentleman,” Dora Puig, owner of Luxe Living Realty in Miami, told The Post. “He sang Italian songs, danced, cooked amazing pasta dishes. At heart, he was an entertainer.”
After that 2012 breakup, Ivana was there to catch him. The on-again/off-again part of their relationship endured and there were even rumors that she was going to bankroll a West Palm Beach pizzeria — to be called Rosanno To Go — for her ex. Though the joint never opened, a fire rescue truck was purchased as a delivery vehicle.
Some in Rubicondi’s world figured he and Ivana would eventually reunite. The Daily Mail reported that Ivana and Rubicondi had been seen together at least five times in 2021. “Lately he got closer to Ivana Trump and many thought they also wanted to remarry,” the Italian director Roberto Alessi, a friend of Rubicondi, told the Italian publication Corriere della Serre.
“Ivana had great men in her life,” said Hay. “She had the Donald, she had a dashing Italian count [Roffredo Gaetani] and a business guy from London who was age-appropriate [Riccardo Mazzucchelli]. Then there was Rossano. He tried to be the boy-toy he was meant to be. He tried hard to please her.”