Silvio Berlusconi has sought to draw a line under his "bunga bunga" parties after he announced he was engaged to his girlfriend 50 years his junior, who makes him feel "less lonely".
In a wide-ranging interview aired on the talk show 'Domenica Live' on his Canale 5 TV network, the 76-year-old billionaire said he was engaged to Francesca Pascale,(pictured) his 27-year old girlfriend.
"Finally I feel less lonely," Mr Berlusconi said. "I am engaged to a Neapolitan, it's official.
"She is 27 years old, with very solid values, beautiful on the outside and even more beautiful on the inside."
Mr Berlusconi does not appear to have let his second marriage get in the way of his engagement announcement.
He is yet to reach agreement with Veronica Lario on the terms of their divorce.
Mr Berlusconi plans to launch his fourth bid to be prime minister in elections expected to be held in February, unless the current technocrat prime minister, Mario Monti, decides to run for office.
The tycoon also used yesterday's interview to lash out at the Milan trial, where he is fighting charges that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute, the then 17-year-old exotic dancer, Karima El-Mahroug.
Mr Berlusconi and she have denied the charges.
Asked about the so-called bunga-bunga parties, he said: "It was a time when I felt very lonely. I had just got divorced, my sister had died.
"Then someone said: 'Why don't we organise some soirees?' I was tricked."
A former shop assistant, Miss Pascale served as a provincial councillor in Mr Berlusconi's centre-Right PDL party until she stepped down from office in July.
Mr Berlusconi's fiancee has said that her life revolves around three things – her family, politics, and him – and is said to be jealous of other women in his inner circle. (© Daily Telegraph, London)