•Nancy has remained in Sven's flat since they split in 2006 — she says with his full blessing
•Sven has been unemployed since being fired in October from his last managerial job at Leicester City and wants her to move on
•If Sven wins, Nancy will have to leave, and may also have to pay legal fees, described as ‘frighteningly large’
•Nancy appears to be taking it in her stride, saying her psychics have told her it will all be okay
By Alison Boshoff
..The first day of Royal Ascot is quite a society occasion and, as you might imagine, Nancy Dell’Olio attended and pulled out all the stops.
The 50-year-old wore a fabulously tight black and white dress, plus an exuberant hat that resembled a massive bunch of white gladioli.
Add a deep tan, and her trademark shell-pink lip gloss, and you have an invincible diva in full sail.
According to Nancy, the romance with Sven went on long after everyone assumed it was over. She claimed in an interview they remained on intimate terms until 2009
But, beneath the warpaint, it seems, there was emotional turmoil. For on Tuesday, as she sipped champagne and made the social rounds, a drama was unfolding in the grimy surroundings of a West London courtroom which friends say may yet leave her — gulp — ‘virtually destitute’.
The court in Hammersmith heard the initial forays in Sven Goran Eriksson’s attempt to eject the Italian beauty from a £2.7 million flat in Eaton Place, Belgravia.
If Sven wins, not only will Nancy have to leave, she may have to finally concede she’ll never wring a financial settlement out of the Swede with whom she spent ten tumultuous years. She may also have to pay legal fees, described to me as ‘frighteningly large’.
The dispute is this. Sven, or a company acting for him, bought a two-bedroom flat in Belgravia in 2005 while he was manager of the England football team. They lived in it together.
After they split in 2006 she remained in the flat — she says with his full blessing, he says as a temporary measure. It has been her base as she has launched herself as a celebrity in her own right, even appearing on last year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
However, Sven — unemployed since being fired in October from his last managerial job at Leicester City — wants her to move on.
Although Nancy doesn’t believe it possible, perhaps the Swede is running low on cash. He was swindled by convicted fraudster Russell King who lured him to Notts County as director of football, offering a contract that included £9 million of shares which turned out to be worthless.
And the glory years — he earned £25 million as England manager between 2001 and 2006 — are long gone. Since then, Sven has managed Mexico, Manchester City and Ivory Coast with mixed success.
Last year, he told Nancy he wished to sell the flat, but she was not to be moved. His negotiating tactic, say her friends, was to tell her he would see her in court.
But Nancy will not go down without a fight. She was telling confidantes this week she feels sure of victory, partly because one of the several psychics she consults has predicted she will win.
‘She is in a fighting frame of mind,’ a friend told me. ‘She is devastated and furious with Sven. She adored him, and he has gone back on all the promises he made.
‘If they do not reach a settlement she will be virtually destitute. She is a spender, not a saver, and she really needs to have a place to live.’
Nancy has regular telephone consultations with spiritualists and tarot card readers, and her friend said: ‘Nancy has been told this is the year she is going to meet the man of her dreams, and that everything is going to be all right with Sven.’
If Nancy’s fortune-tellers are correct, it is to be hoped this romantic match is with a man of substantial means, because she has already missed out on one potentially lucrative post-marital payday.
The friend explained: ‘When they first got together, Nancy was married to someone else (Giancarlo Mazza, a rich Italian lawyer). Sven asked him to let Nancy go without a fight, in return for her giving up her right to alimony.
‘That meant that Nancy missed out on money which could have kept her — but Sven told Nancy she would always be looked after.’
Ulrika Johnson, left and Faria Alam, right, were both linked to Sven while he was with Nancy
Nancy’s former agent Jon Roseman remembers dining with her frequently at Claridge’s during the Sven years. She would pay using great wads of £50 notes which were her ‘allowance’ from the Swede.
The friend added: ‘When she came to England, there was a lot of media interest, but Sven asked her not to earn money by doing interviews and so on. She looks back at those huge sums she was offered and realises she missed out. And now he wants to leave her with nothing.’
I’m told one offer from a ‘feel-good’ magazine back in 2005 was £275,000 for an exclusive interview. Nancy, who recently took £30,000 to promote Domestos toilet bleach, must regret letting such easy money slip through her fingers.
As he goes to court to force her out of his £2.7m Belgravia flat... will Sven make Nancy a destitute diva?
So will she win this case? Unhappily for Nancy, although she was with Sven for more than ten years, and he may have made promises about her financial future, he is under no legal obligation whatsoever to cough up.
His sexual indiscretions while they were together — which encompassed affairs with Ulrika Jonsson and Football Association secretary Faria Alam — have no bearing on the situation as far as the law is concerned.
In the legal system, there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’, and Sven has no obligation to pay any kind of maintenance. Nor does he have to give Nancy a share in the property, or the right to stay there.
Nancy really misses theatre and film director Sir Trevor Nunn, left, who she was with from April to September last year. She has also made it known she has contacted divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton, right, but Sven isn't worried
Apparently, he offered her £250,000 immediately after they broke up, and Nancy may come to regret not grabbing this deal. Perhaps, because they parted as friends, she didn’t wish to rock the boat. According to Nancy, the romance with Sven went on long after everyone assumed it was over. She claimed in an interview they remained on intimate terms until 2009.
About two years ago, when it was clear the romance was definitely over, she sought legal advice on what she might be entitled to.
Last year she let it be known that she had consulted Fiona Shackleton, who saved Sir Paul McCartney a fortune during his divorce from Heather Mills. But Sven seems quite unafraid.
Nancy had been threatening to ‘tell all’ about their relationship but, now that his tenure as England boss is so long ago, it’s no longer going to be all that embarrassing to Sven, who looks likely to move into Europe for his next job. This means she won’t get a huge payday from a publisher for it, too.
There are times, I am told, she expresses fear at what lies ahead. She admitted to one friend this week she is ‘very nervous’ about the case.
Nancy has increased her efforts to earn money of late. She gets around £50,000 for writing a weekly style column for a newspaper, and appeared in Hello! magazine this spring, netting around £15,000.
The Strictly Come Dancing tour made her an estimated £30,000 a week at the start of the year and she got a further £60,000 for appearing on the show in 2011.
But then, Nancy really does enjoy La Dolce Vita. A recent lunch at the Waterside Inn, Bray, for her and a friend cost £800. She is often at celebrity haunts Scott’s and The Ivy Club. When she goes out, her hair and make-up is done by top professionals, who call on her in Belgravia.
She also enjoyed the attentions of Daniel Pytlarz, the London masseur recently cleared of sexually assaulting 18 of his female clients at his North-West London clinic. During his trial, Polish-born Mr Pytlarz, 35, told Southwark Crown Court that it was ‘very special’ to give massages to celebrity clients such as Nancy.
She laid on champagne in her Strictly dressing room for all- comers during the BBC1 show, and her 50th birthday party at the exclusive Borgo Egnazia Resort in Puglia, Italy, for 180 dear friends, apparently cost £200,000.
She will need a stellar media career to maintain such a lifestyle — especially if this court action goes against her. West London County Court heard that Sven and Nancy entered into an agreement after the separation which allowed her to stay in Belgravia until a beach house near Rome was transferred to her name.
Nancy says Sven was then going to give her a cash equivalent so she could buy her own flat in London. In the event, this never happened.
The proceedings have been brought by MPR Trust Company Ltd (sole beneficiary, Sven), according to the TV star’s lawyer, and is registered in Guernsey — where corporation tax is 0 per cent. Each party is now preparing to return for a longer hearing some time after July 25.
In the meantime, Nancy, a qualified lawyer, will be busy. She is contemplating an offer to go on I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here! for an estimated £75,000 fee.
There is, I’m told, no boyfriend at present. A liaison with Sir Stuart Rose, the chairman of Marks & Spencer, burned out the instant the relationship came to light.
And although she has called Sven the love of her life, the one man she really misses is theatre and film director Sir Trevor Nunn.
Sir Trevor and Nancy had a romance from April until September last year, which coincided with the end of his 17-year marriage to actress Imogen Stubbs. I’m told: ‘She really, really liked Trevor and is very sad it didn’t work out. She hasn’t found anyone exciting since.’
Indeed, I understand she has told her friend Holly Valance that she wants to be seated next to an eligible bachelor at Valance’s forthcoming summer wedding to property tycoon Nick Candy.
For Nancy, a star in her own right, is very much the kind of woman who likes to have a man.