Livia Giuggioli's former lover claims the pair had a passionate 11-month affair and were deeply in love.

Livia, 48, and her husband Colin Firth, 57, have called in the police after alleging that Marco Brancaccia, 55, had been stalking her but the Italian journalist insists that he never stalked Livia and that the pair were in love.

Speaking about their relationship - which he claims began at a dinner party at the couple's home in Umbria, Italy, in 2015 - Marco told the Daily Mail: ''We had dinner, we danced and at the end of the evening we kissed, and that was the beginning of our story.

''We met in many places because she was travelling or we arranged some trips. She visited me in Brazil. I went to London. We were in New York, Iceland and Prague together. We met in Rome. She seemed to be a wonderful person. And she's beautiful, of course.

''We'd been friends for many years and suddenly this magic sparkle erupted and we fell in love. Both of us.

''She wanted to divorce. This is what she said to me. I believed it. I had no reason to doubt it.

''I fell in love completely with Livia. I felt she was the woman of my life. I loved her very much, very much.''

Marco also insisted he could not have stalked Livia as they were living on opposite sides of the world.

He said: ''I was based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and she was in London. I have not made one single phone call to her. Not one. I am the only case in the world of a stalker living in another continent and not making one single phone call. How is that possible?''

Colin and his wife were recently forced to announce they briefly called time on their marriage in 2015 after it became public knowledge they were involved in a police investigation regarding the alleged stalking.

The couple's representative told The Times newspaper in a statement: ''A few years ago Colin and Livia privately made the decision to separate.

''During that time Livia briefly became involved with former friend Mr Brancaccia. The Firths have since reunited. Subsequently, Mr Brancaccia carried out a frightening campaign of harassment over several months, much of which is documented. For obvious reasons, the Firths have never had any desire to make this matter public.''

Colin and Livia got married in 1997 and have two children Luca, 16, and Matteo, 14.