A WIFE is suing her husband for secretly divorcing her months into their 20 year marriage to shield his assets - and failing to tell her. Christina Carta Villa, 59, has called husband Gabriel, 90, a "fraud" and is now seeking to nullify the divorce that she had no idea about.
Mrs Villa claims that for the last two decades she has been living a lie and that all her happy memories have been ruined. The lawsuit alleged that four months after the couple got married in New York in 1994, Mr Villa flew to the Dominican Republic and got the secret divorce.
Mrs Villa claims that her husband even hired lawyers to represent her and told the court that life with her was "unbearable". But Mr Villa then continued to live with his wife for the next two decades until a tax bill arrived for their Manhattan home without Mrs Villa’s name on it.
Mrs Villa hired a lawyer to investigate and discovered that her husband had removed her name from the deed, citing the divorce in the Dominican Republic as proof she wasn’t an owner.
Mrs Villa writes in the lawsuit that during her 20-year marriage she cared for her husband when he was sick and was "always at his side". She left her job teaching Italian literature at Boston College to be with her husband, who is a lawyer and travel agent, and had a son with him.
Mrs Villa said: "I realise now that during all these years of joy and happiness, and of difficult moments we shared together, my husband lied to me and had the Dominican divorce on the back of his mind. "It’s what is hurting me the most."
The lawsuit seeks to try and stop Mr Villa selling their apartment, which is worth more than $1m and will likely go to his daughter from a previous relationship. Mrs Villa told the New York Post that her husband’s actions amount to "fraud".
She said: "It was and somehow it’s still a great love. Gabriel is a very charismatic man, strong, intelligent and very charming. I think we could say I was a loving and caring wife and mother."