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The Great Dane marries in Malta

Truly, madly, deeply... Brigitte Nielsen will be tying the knot with 28-year-old Italian bartender Mattia Dessi today at a star-studded ceremony at the Radisson SAS Golden Sands Resort, Golden Bay. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Truly, madly, deeply... Brigitte Nielsen will be tying the knot with 28-year-old Italian bartender Mattia Dessi today at a star-studded ceremony at the Radisson SAS Golden Sands Resort, Golden Bay. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Danish actress and model Brigitte Nielsen walked into a restaurant on Lake Lugano in Switzerland for an ice cream and walked out with a husband... her fourth.

"When Mattia entered the room I fell off my chair and I felt like a young girl again - he sucked my soul," Ms Nielsen said yesterday, lovingly clutching Mattia Dessi's hand at a press conference.

Ms Nielsen, who turns 43 next week, met the 28-year-old Italian bartender and was instantly smitten despite the fact that "he's 15 years younger than me, 15 centimetres shorter than me and everything is so weird".

Today, the two will be tying the knot at the Radisson SAS Golden Sands Resort, Golden Bay, at a star-studded ceremony that will be attended by their families and closest friends, with the international magazine Hello! covering the event.

The ceremony is expected to be witnessed by millionaire Ivana Trump, former 60s icon Viviane Ventura and Maltese businessman Maurice Mizzi.

This is Ms Nielsen's second wedding in Malta - her first was a controversial ceremony in a church in St Julians when she wed Sebastian Copeland in 1990, a relationship that lasted merely two years.

"Back then I was introduced to an island I knew very little about and found it was very inviting, and very pretty. I am happy to have the opportunity to come back and to marry the man I love very, very much," she enthused.

International media reports claim that this marriage will be her sixth, but she insists it is her fourth. The discrepancy seems to be over whether two of her marriages - to Mr Copeland and Mr Dessi - were legally binding or not.

"No, it's not my sixth and I keep repeating. So thank you for asking. I was not legally married to Sebastian Copeland; I was engaged. Kaspar Winding was my first husband. Then I married Sylvester Stallone and after the divorce I had a wonderful relationship with Mark Gastineau. Then I was married to Raoul Meyer for 14 years," she insisted, stressing the point.

"But like I was saying to Mattia, it's not easy on him to be another number among the husbands," she said.

So has she finally found her true love?

"Whether you believe me or not, maybe I never really did love before, maybe I thought I did."

She had first married Mr Dessi in March last year in the Caribbean. However, since the divorce with Mr Meyer had not been finalised, the marriage was not considered legally binding.

So how did it feel to be renewing her vows to Mr Dessi?

"I think it's very important to speak honestly about this. In our hearts it was supposed to be a marriage, but I would like to remind you that I was still married to Raoul Meyer and my divorce was not final," she said.

"We were on vacation and it was a very happy formal engagement more than anything. We promised most of all to each other that we were going to get married and that's why we're here," she said.

Ms Nielsen had actually contemplated not going through with the wedding ceremony since the two were so happy, but she felt that marriage would be more binding, especially since she was so jealous.

"Too much," Mr Dessi quickly interjects with a boyish grin.

Ms Nielsen added: "I know it sounds stupid, but for me it feels like a security. I'm so afraid of losing him, because he changed a lot of things in my life. Also in the last four years I was not very happy in my own marriage... I was not a happy camper. I finally have my two feet on the ground and I know where I want to go and what I want to do."

Making their union legal was not easy and Ms Nielsen said that trying to get all the marriage papers in order had proved to be extremely difficult.

"Ladies and gents, it's been the toughest thing ever to get the marriage certificate in Malta. This is so legal - it's never been this legal. I felt like they were going to arrest me before I actually got married, but everything is fine now and we're so excited," she said grabbing a microphone to make the announcement.

At one point the couple were considering getting married elsewhere and they were presented with other options, but they persisted because they loved the island. Chatting excitedly about today's ceremony, Ms Nielsen said the flavour of the wedding was off-white and cream - very simple, with pretty flowers and delicious food.

The two will be spending about a week in Malta to "spend some quality time", while discovering the island's charm and traditions before flying to Milan and on to Los Angeles where Ms Nielsen has a contract with VH1/MTV for a reality fiction show.

In the meantime, the two are more focused on holding hands and snatching kisses at every possible moment.

"Mattia and myself are very, very happy to be here in Malta, at the Golden Sands. Most of all for Mattia and myself it's happiness," she said.

About Brigitte Nielsen

Brigitte Nielsen, born on July 15, 1963 in Denmark as Gitte Nielsen, became very popular in 1980s B-movies, most notably as the titular character in Red Sonja, due to her stature and sultry looks. Because of these attributes, she was termed an Amazon by the world press.

She reached the height of her fame in 1987, when she played the assassin Karla Fry in Beverly Hills Cop II. However, she is mostly renowned for her marriage to actor Sylvester Stallone (her co-star in Rocky IV and Cobra).

Ms Nielsen started a short-lived music career shortly after her divorce from Mr Stallone in 1987. She released her debut album Every Body Tells A Story in that year and recorded with Austrian pop sensation Falco.

In the 1990s, she hosted an English language talk show that was broadcast across Europe, to much acclaim. The show revived public interest in Ms Nielsen and helped her brush off the misconception that she could only be known for her beauty.

She appeared on the third season of the VH1 reality show The Surreal Life, which was filmed in July and began airing in early September 2004. The show was such a success, due mainly to the interplay between her and Public Enemy rapper Flavor Flav, that VH1 produced a spin-off reality show called Strange Love, which began airing on the channel last year.

In January 2005 she appeared in the UK television programme Celebrity Big Brother along with her former mother-in-law Jackie Stallone.

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