Jeff Koons’s Ex-Wife and Muse Ilona Staller, aka Cicciolina, Is Returning to Politics to Take on Italy’s Populist Insurgents

Iona Staller is angry that Italy's populist politicians have slashed pensions for her and other former members of parliament.

Ilona Staller in 2013. Photo by Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Getty Images.
Ilona Staller campaigning for the Liberal Party in 2013. Photo by Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Getty Images.

The former politician, adult-film star, and Jeff Koons’s ex-wife and muse, Ilona Staller, has promised to stand in the next elections in Italy. She will be campaigning against the country’s populist government and its plan to slash pensions.

The 68-year-old retiree, who featured in several of Koons’s most explicit photographs, paintings, and sculptures for his “Made in Heaven” series, is better known to many as “La Cicciolina.” She gained the nickname, meaning “little fleshy one,” during her career as a porn star in the 1980s.

Staller has promised to stand Italy’s next elections for the political party she founded in 2012, which is called DNA—Democrazia Natura Amore (democracy, nature, love). She says she is “pissed off” with the anti-establishment Five Star movement.

“I am offended by this unconstitutional cut,” Staller told press, according to the Times newspaper. “I am getting back into politics to point out that these politicians are slashing the pensions of ex-MPs while keeping their own wages. Let’s cut their wages in half.”

This is not Staller’s first foray into government. She was first elected to parliament in 1987 as an MP for the libertarian Radical Party. In the 1990s, she founded the Party of Love and ran for local office several times before founding DNA in 2012.

When she retired, she received the country’s €3,100 ($3,250)-a-month pension for former members of parliament, but Five Star slashed that pension to €1,000 ($1,084).

In the past, Staller’s DNA party platform included legalizing same-sex marriage, establishing a guaranteed minimum wage for young people, and eliminating privileges for wealthy elites.

A man looks at US artist Jeff Koons' artworks titled "Made in Heaven" during the presentation of the "Jeff Koons: Retrospective" exhibition at the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. Photo by Ander Gillenea/AFP via Getty Images.

A man looks at US artist Jeff Koons’ artworks titled “Made in Heaven” during the presentation of the “Jeff Koons: Retrospective” exhibition at the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. Photo by Ander Gillenea/AFP via Getty Images.

Staller was married to Jeff Koons in the 1990s, and appears in some of the artist’s most famous works. The couple tied the knot 1991, after they created a sensation at the Venice Biennale the previous year. Koons exhibited a series of works that depicted the couple having sex in different positions, settings, and costumes called “Made in Heaven.”

Before they divorced in 1994, they had a son together, Ludwig. After Staller defied a New York court order to return to Italy with her son, the pair were embroiled in a lengthy custody battle, which Staller eventually won.


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