Western Mail, 6th May 2009
There’s a lot of truth to the old saying “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, as Silvio Berlusconi has found.
The billionaire media magnate has become the latest to suffer the backlash, after his wife Veronica Lario reportedly demanded a divorce at the most awkward of times.
The former actress hit out at her husband and confirmed she was seeking to end their 19-year marriage because she was fed up of the 72-year-old’s wandering eye for younger women. It came after he attended a birthday party for an 18-year-old model.
But Berlusconi is not the only other half to feel the effect of a peeved partner.
Spurned wives have hit the headlines here after cutting up their partners’ clothes and giving away their collections of fine wines.
In Wales there are numerous examples of women who have wreaked revenge on their husbands after they have strayed.
Melanie Hamer, a partner at Cardiff’s Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice, has come across her fair share of incidents of spouses hitting back.
“I know of someone who went on holiday and took all the fuses out of the plugs to stop their partner using the electricity while they were away”, she said.
“One woman reported her husband to the tax man whereas another sewed prawns into the curtains before she moved out so the house stank of fish. Another lady painted her husband’s flash car with thick outdoor paint.
“I even dealt with one lady who’d been married 50 years. When I asked her when she knew her marriage was over she said “50 years ago”, and the reason for it was her husband’s flatulence – she’d put up with it for all that time but had finally had enough.”
She added: “People feel their worst during the process of a divorce and often behave their worst too. We do try to encourage amicable outcomes though, and try to dissuade clients from acting in a vengeful way.”
One South Wales woman, who asked to remain anonymous, admitted doing lots of little things to get back at her husband during their divorce proceedings.
She said: “I turned all his clocks back, including his wrist watch. So he was late for everything.
“I poured mouthwash into his aftershave bottle, put cactus needles on his pillow, and slashed all the backs of his leather sofas so he didn’t realise what I’d done until he went to move them.
“I liked the idea of doing something that my partner wouldn’t find out about immediately, because it gave me that anxious, exciting feeling of waiting for him to discover what I had done.
“My husband would also pick his nose when he was driving but would claim it was just dry skin, so one day I put real nasal waste on his steering wheel – it was a great feeling when he put his hand on it.”
The divorcee said she knows of friends who have cut up their husbands’ suits in an act of revenge, but would advise people not to do anything in the heat of the moment.
“If you’re determined to damage your partner’s property, firstly make sure it’s not criminal and secondly make sure that the item you’re damaging is not part of your settlement”, she added.
“I keyed all the sides of my husband’s car and was later awarded with it so I’ve learned from that mistake.
“It’s also very important to have someone with a good sense of humour like Ms Hamer to help you through your divorce.”
As for Ms Berlusconi perhaps she should bear in mind one word of warning from Ms Hamer.
“They do say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but men can be equally as bad.
“I know of a case where a judge told a couple their contents had to be divided equally, so the husband chopped all their furniture in half, including their expensive dining table.”