Man secretly divorces wife right after wedding to 'protect his assets'

Jan 25, 2016 at 11:10 p.m. ET
Image: Jamie Grill/Getty Images

This is insane.

Cristina Carta Villa and Gabriel Villa lived the jet-setting lifestyle during their 20-year marriage, spending time between homes in New York and France while raising their son.

But Gabriel kept a secret the whole time: He secretly divorced Cristina four months after they wed in an effort to "protect" his assets. According to the New York Post, Gabriel launched a legal dissolution of marriage in the Dominican Republic, even though they didn't live there. He arranged for legal counsel to "represent" both sides and told authorities that his life was "unbearable" with Cristina.

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Except it was anything but unbearable.

"He was absolutely charming, and despite our age difference, it was love at first sight,” Cristina, 59, told the Post. “It was and somehow it’s still a great love."

She cared for her husband, now 90, during his hospital stays, but now she's suing him for the fraudulent divorce. She only found out about it in November when a tax bill arrived for their Manhattan home without her name. After investigating, she found that Gabriel tried to have her name removed from the deed citing the Dominican divorce as proof.

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Cristina says she "has no recollection of [giving] any authorization to anyone to proceed with a divorce, or even thinking about divorce from the man she had just recently married," adding that she was “surreptitiously impaired, drugged or misled” into giving permission if she somehow did.

"I realize 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," she continued. "It’s what is hurting me the most."

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