Accused of having attacked a paparazzi in Rome, Gérard Depardieu allegedly “lost his balance” and “fell” onto the paparazzi, according to statements from his lawyer reported by France Info. Tuesday May 21, the French actor allegedly attacked Rino Barillari, a 79-year-old Roman paparazzi, who was trying to photograph him while he was on the terrace of a bar with, according to the Italian daily Il Messaggero, his partner Magda Vavrusova – Slovak actress and former politician.

On the evening of Tuesday, May 21, Gérard Depardieu’s lawyer published a press release explaining her version of the facts. “Rino Barillari, as well known for his photos as for his aggressive methods, violently pushed Gérard Depardieu’s partner,” relates Delphine Meillet. The actor’s companion allegedly told the Roman police that she had been the victim of “extreme violence (…) The photographer pushed me, touching my torso and my chest with his arm.” “Faced with the violence of the situation, Gérard Depardieu, who intervened between the paparazzi and his partner, fell and slipped on him,” said the couple’s lawyer. They would have filed a complaint.

This version does not correspond to that of the photographer. “Depardieu hit me three times in the face. I have a headache,” said Rino Barillari according to La Stampa. “I photographed him discreetly with a very beautiful girl. She noticed it and threw a glass of ice at me, he further explained. I didn’t expect what happened next. Then she came out, came up to me and said “shit”. I took a step back and smiled at him. But then it happened. I didn’t have time to understand what was happening before he hit me three times in the face.”

Gianni Riotta, an Italian journalist who witnessed the altercation, disputed the French actor’s version of the events. “It’s a lie. He hit Barillari,” he told Reuters, adding that he had given police a statement describing how Gérard Depardieu attacked the photographer. “With surprising agility, I saw Depardieu come out of the restaurant towards the photographer and then he hit him,” adding that the attack left Barillari “bleeding profusely.” According to the Reuters news agency, police are investigating the incident.

Gérard Depardieu will be tried in October 2024 for sexual assault. Since 2020, he has been indicted for “rape” and “sexual assault” following a complaint from actress Charlotte Arnould who denounced two rapes at the actor’s Parisian home at the end of August 2018.