Two decades ago, Gianni Versace was fatally shot by Andrew Cunanan outside his Miami Beach mansion. The killing and subsequent manhunt became an international media sensation.
Now, FX is bringing the story of Versace’s murder to a new generation with The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. The show premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.
But, the two surviving people at the center of the tragedy, are not happy with the show’s portrayal of Versace.
His death on July 15, 1997 at age 50 shocked the fashion world. Eight days later, Cunanan, shot and killed himself on a houseboat near Versace’s home.
Versace’s younger sister Donatella, who is portrayed in the new series by Penelope Cruz, and the slain designer’s longtime boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico, who is played by singer and actor Ricky Martin, were among the many loved ones left reeling in the aftermath of the killing.
Here’s a look at where they are now:
Donatella Versace, 62, took over the company her brother founded after he died and has been the artistic director at Versace since 1997. In an interview with the Guardian, published in September, she said she was “lost” during the first five years after Gianni’s death. “When my brother was murdered, I had the eyes of the whole world on me and 99% of them thought I wasn’t going to make it. And maybe I thought the same, at first,” she said. “My brother was the king, and my whole world had crashed around me.”
The designer pushed through the pain in public but often broke down when she was alone, she told the New York Times in February 2015. “I was going home and crying, but closing the room,” she said, “because I didn’t lose the king of fashion, which he was. In that moment, I lost my brother.”
She went on to successfully lead the company into the 21st century, telling TIME in 2008 that she always thinks of her brother before every fashion show. “I close my eyes and think of him,” she said. “Will Gianni approve of this? I tell myself, Yes, he will. He taught me everything I know. Even if my fashion changes, evolves with the millennium, the DNA is the same.”
In September 2017, Donatella Versace paid tribute to her brother during Milan Fashion Week in Italy. The designer had supermodels who had worked closely with Gianni Versace — including Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Naomi Campbell — walk the runway in her brother’s signature gold dresses.
The Versace family has been vocally outraged about the American Crime Story series. In two recent and separate statements, the fashion house slammed the series as a “work of fiction” and said it presents a “distorted” version of what happened. “Gianni Versace was a brave and honest man, who engaged in humanitarian work for the benefit of others,” the company said. “Of all the possible portrayals of his life and legacy, it is sad and reprehensible that the producers have chosen to present the distorted and bogus version.”
The Versace family also said it not did authorize or have any involvement with the show, which FX said is based off author Maureen Orth’s book, Vulgar Favors. “We stand by the meticulous reporting of Ms. Orth,” FX said in a statement.
Gianni Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico, fell into despair after Versace’s death and mostly kept out of the spotlight in the last two decades. But he broke his silence about the murder in July 2017 when he criticized a critical scene in the American Crime Story series as “ridiculous.” “There has been so much written and said about the murder, and thousands of suppositions, but not a trace of reality,” D’Amico told the Observer last summer.
D’Amico, who had been with Versace for more than 15 years, was the one who found Versace’s body after the shooting. “I felt as if my blood had turned to ice,” he recalled. “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.”
Production photos of the new series show Martin, the actor portraying D’Amico, crying and clutching his lover’s bloody body on the front steps, which D’Amico said never happened. “The picture of Ricky Martin holding the body in his arms is ridiculous,” he said. “Maybe it’s the director’s poetic license, but that is not how I reacted.”
D’Amico told the Observer that Versace’s death “had torn me in two.” “I was in a nightmare,” he said.
Martin later told Ocean Drive Magazine that he asked D’Amico to keep an open mind and not judge the quality of the show by just photos. “You have to see what we’re doing, and you’re going to be so pleased with everything,’” Martin said he told D’Amico. The actor went on to defend the intention of the series. “We’re treating this story with a lot of respect and really serious about it,” he said. “It’s very dramatic and powerful, but you will also see a lot of love. The love between Antonio and Gianni was a very beautiful one.”
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