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Italian PM Giorgia Meloni splits from partner after his sexist comments

Italy’s far-right prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, has split from her partner, Andrea Giambruno, a television journalist who has made several embarrassing, sexist comments.

“My relationship with Andrea Giambruno, which lasted almost 10 years, ends here,” Meloni wrote on social media, two days after two off-air recordings emerged of Giambruno, a presenter on Mediaset’s news talkshow Diario Del Giorno, making foul remarks and suggestive comments towards a female colleague.

The couple have a seven-year-old daughter. “I thank him for the wonderful years we spent together, for the difficulties we went through and for giving me the most important thing in my life, which is our daughter Ginevra,” Meloni wrote. “Our paths have diverged for some time and it is time to acknowledge it.”

In the first off-air clip, broadcast by another Mediaset show, Giambruno complains about criticisms of his hairstyle before telling his female colleague: “Why didn’t I meet you before?” In the second recording, he is heard telling a female colleague that they need another participant on the show. “Let’s have a threesome, even a foursome,” he said.

Andrea GiambrunoMeloni met Andrea Giambruno in a Mediaset studio. Photograph: Yara Nardi/Reuters

In September, Meloni defended Giambruno after he said women should “avoid getting drunk” if they wanted to avoid being raped. He made the remarks on air after a series of high-profile rape cases. At the time, Meloni said his words had been misinterpreted and that while they were “hasty”, they were similar to what her mother had told her, which was to “keep your eyes peeled and head screwed on”.

Giambruno’s other on-air gaffes include comments denying the climate crisis. “Heat in the summer isn’t big news,” he said in July when temperatures reached record-breaking levels in Italy.

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Meloni added in her announcement that she would “defend who we were, I will defend our friendship and I will defend, at all costs, a seven-year-old who loves her mother and father in a way I could not love mine”.

The politician, who came to power in October after her Brothers of Italy party triumphed in general elections, was brought up by a single mother and was estranged from her father.

Meloni met Giambruno in a Mediaset studio before participating in a show after a day of political rallies. He said in an interview that an exhausted Meloni handed him a half-eaten banana, mistaking him for her assistant, before going on set. He described their meeting as “love at first sight”.