London, May 28 (ANI): The scandal surrounding Silvio Berlusconi's friendship with an 18-year-old aspiring model has started a new guessing game in Italy over its authenticity. His wife, however, is not happy with the news and has, infact, announced intentions of divorcing him in a newspaper.
But, Berlusconi is not alone. His kids are standing by him.
The Italian Prime minister's failure to explain his friendship with Noemi Letizia has hit his normally sky-high approval ratings, according to private polls.
As he prepared to mount a television campaign to boost his flagging popularity, Berlusconi was stung by an opposition leader who questioned his family values, reports The Times.
Dario Franceschini, the leader of the Democratic Party, said: "To the Italians, I want to ask a question: would you want your children brought up by this man?"
Marina Berlusconi, the Prime Minister's oldest child and an executive in his media empire, retorted: "I would be thrilled for Franceschini's children if they had a father like mine."
Barbara, Eleonora and Luigi - the children from Berlusconi's second marriage - also stood by their father.
"We were brought up in a sensible family environment rich in values," they said.
Meanwhile, Letizia had earlier claimed that Berlusconi would launch her into a career in politics.
Letizia, who affectionately calls Berlusconi "Papi", came under media glare after Veronica Lario, the Italian leader's wife, announced their divorce with the words, "I cannot be with a man who spends time with under-age women".
The buzz started that Belusconi had attended the teenager's 18th birthday party, presenting her with a gold and diamond necklace.
However, in an earlier interview, Letizia denied having an "inappropriate relationship" with Berlusconi. (ANI)