Husband secretly divorces wife – but stays with her for 20 years

Cristina Carta Villa, 59, had been living an amazing life alongside Gabriel Villa, the 90-year-old man she had been happily married to for 20 blissful years.

Or so she thought.

Because, it turns out, they weren’t actually married. Not for as long as Cristina had thought, anyway.


Gabriel had actually secretly divorced her just months after their wedding, in an attempt – it is alleged – to shield his assets.


They had met at a friend’s house, and were quick to marry in a New York ceremony in 1994. Cristina left her life behind as an Italian literature teacher at Boston college to be with Gabriel, a lawyer and travel agent more than 30 years older than her.

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They were living the high life, often travelling between homes in both New York and France.


But it looks as though Gabriel didn’t quite trust his younger wife, and secretly arranged for a divorce in the Dominican Republic.


According to Cristina, she had no idea that this had happened – and she had not consented to the Dominican divorce.

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He hired lawyers to represent both Cristina and himself and blamed ‘incompatibility of temperaments’ as the reason behind the divorce, Cristina claimed in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit, according to The New York Post.


But, she says she never knew about or consented to, a Dominican divorce, which was never registered in New York. And that she only found out about it in November when a tax bill arrived for their Manhattan home and her name wasn’t on it.

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Curious as to what was going on, she hired a lawyer to investigate – only to found out Gabriel had actually tried to remove her name from the deed.


Cristina is now suing Gabriel to nullify the ‘divorce’ which she feels was to protect his money from her. She also hopes the lawsuit will prevent Gabriel from selling on their home – a one-bedroom condo worth roughly $1.4 million – to his daughter living in Rome – which she fears will happen without her permission.