Donatella Versace about Madonna and the aftermath of her brother’s death
Twenty years after her brother’s murder, Donatella Versace reveals an impressive detail about the days following Gianni‘s murder that none of the books, documentaries, or fictional takes have included before: Madonna was there. She told Ssense:
The sight of my dead brother haunts me to this day. One bullet hit his neck, the other his face. After identification, I drove to Gianni’s villa on Ocean Drive. Madonna was waiting for me inside. I will never forget that she was trying to comfort me during these hours. There were FBI agents everywhere in the house. They interrogated each of us and opened all the drawers, a nightmare. My brother had just been murdered, and we were being treated like suspects. But that’s probably what FBI agents have to do.
The reason for the Queen of Pop’s presence wasn’t widely known by the public before, but it had been hinted at a few times and her fans are familiar with it: at the time Madonna was in the recording studio working on her album Ray of Light. During interviews about the making of the album, producer William Orbit revealed that indeed Madonna was one of the first people Donatella called, on the very same day she recorded the vocals for the album track Swim.
“We were recording Swim on the day Versace was murdered,” Orbit told Q magazine in 2002. “Madonna was very friendly with him and his sister, Donatella, who was in the street, distraught, on her cell phone to Madonna. But she did the vocal, which is probably why it has such an emotional impact.”
The Huffington Post e-mailed Orbit earlier this year for elaboration on the story, and while Orbit declined an interview he did write, in an e-mail, “There’s quite a story around that.”
Quite a story, indeed.