Pouting into the camera with all the assurance of a teenage bombshell, these exclusive pictures show a teenage Monica Bellucci in some of her earliest shoots.
Taken an incredible 32 years before she was selected, aged 50, from among the world’s most beautiful women, as the latest Bond girl – these images show how the remarkable Italian actress has remained virtually unchanged by time.
The raven-haired beauty will become officially the oldest-ever Bond girl when she appears in the new 007 film Spectre opposite Daniel Craig next year.
‘Just look at her lips,’ her father Pasquale Bellucci insists, as he opens the family archive for MailOnline.
‘Everyone says she has had work done. But here is the proof. Her lips really were that full even at the very beginning. She’s completely natural.’
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Her father, who ran his own lorry company before he retired, and her mother, a housewife, couldn’t be prouder of their only child, who found fame on the catwalk before posing nude in Vanity Fair and starring in dozens of films including Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mel Gibson’s The Passion.
The supermodel’s pictures – which Mr Bellucci insists have not been seen before – hang everywhere in the family home in the village of Selci Lama near Citta del Castello, Umbria where she grew up ‘surrounded by love’. Stacks of VHS tapes of her interviews from all over the world stand next to the TV.
‘It’s lucky we never had another child. They would probably have been jealous of Monica’, her mother Brunella laughs.
But despite her breathtaking beauty as an adult, the sex siren wasn’t a cute baby or toddler. ‘She was so ugly’, Pasquale says, pealing into laughter as they bring out ‘Monica’s first nude’ aged 4 months.
Until she was a teenager they even kept her hair short like a boy, as her father had a theory that it would make it stronger and thicker in the long run. ‘That’s why she still has that long beautiful black hair today,’ he insists.
But by 12 it was clear that she was exceptional — she had an early instinct for fashion and already wore high heels, makeup and a chic turban to cover her short curly hair.
Aged 18, Monica Bellucci was a great beauty who has remained ‘completely natural’ and has never had any work done, her father told MailOnline
Her beauty was utterly captivating even then. Complete strangers propositioned her with offers of millions of lira and a new life abroad, friends say.
Waiters and waitresses at restaurants offered her the opportunity to eat for free. Teachers at school lost concentration – one presented her parents with a sketch he had done of her while supposedly teaching her in class.
But such beauty in a small town was not always a blessing. Monica at one point became reclusive because the attention was overwhelming, her father remembers.
‘All the other kids would go and hang around in the piazza after school, as teenagers do. But Monica would hide away, taking a detour through the backstreets and then coming straight home.
‘One day I asked her why she didn’t want to be in the square with the others and she said: “When I go in the piazza everyone looks at me. The men look at me. The women look at me. All the kids from school. I feel ashamed”.’
Her father continued: ‘I told her “You need to get used to it. Looking like you everyone is going to stare at you for the rest of your life. You have to be strong.” From that day she blossomed. She became strong’.
These early words of wisdom boosted her self-assurance and she was soon ‘discovered’ by a local hairdresser who she met when she hitched a lift off him into town.
Piero Montanucci, who is a still a friend today, says Monica ‘had total self confidence’ from their first shoots. He released pictures which he said had never been seen before to show how her natural beauty is unchanged.
The flamboyant hairdresser who still has a salon in Citta di Castello remembers the heady days of the 1970s: ‘One day we did a shoot for some hair mousse with a photographer.
‘But somehow the pictures turned out nude. The boss called me after two days and said ‘Piero you’ve shot everything but her hair’. We had to do it all over again.’
Monica dressed ‘almost androgynously’ in the village, he said, as she didn’t like to exhibit herself.
‘One day she was wearing some sexy outfit on a shoot and I said she should dress more like that in Citta. She said, “Piero do you really think I can go around the village wearing this?” I had to admit no. It might have caused chaos!’
Half the town was in love with her, friends say. But Monica herself has said she found it annoying. She told an Italian newspaper: ‘I was born in a provincial town.
‘There any beautiful girl elicits a morbid curiosity just for existing. It was annoying. If you spoke to anyone people said you had gone to bed with them. For the men you are an object, for the women a whore.’
With all the attention, the diva’s first lover came when she was 14 – in a Fiat Lancia. Monica told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. ‘I was 14 and a half. Precocious. He was four years older… I could have done it far earlier as I was very free but I did it with a boy who I was very I love with who I liked physically and everything happened in the most beautiful of ways.’
But the Dolce and Gabbana muse refused all offers of fame and fortune saying she wanted to finish school first.
Her former mentor Piero explains: ‘She didn’t want to become famous -she always said she wanted to study ‘and then we’ll see’. Everything just happened to her. She did everything slowly, little by little. That’s why her career has lasted. That’s why she’s still at star at 50 years old.’
After their final shoot together aged 19, before she went off to Milan signing a contract with Elite, Piero saw the contact sheet and said ‘But Monica you are a beautiful girl’, he remembers. ‘She said: ‘Hadn’t you noticed before now?’
Despite her celebrity credentials, the Matrix actress returns to Citta di Castello often. But she and her two daughters Leonie and Dava will spend Christmas in Brazil with former husband Vincent Cassel whom she divorced this year.
In a storyline fit for a Bond girl, she was briefly rumoured to be dating Russian oligarch Telman Ismailov, but her parents scotched reports of a relationship.
Her mother said: ‘She wants to be single. She has had a marriage – it lasted 20 years-now she’s not looking for anything. She wants to give her love to her children. If love happens it happens.’
Striking brunette Brunella, who is a clothes size 8 and still works out at the gym – diva style – in full make-up, looks at least a decade younger than her real age of 71. She puts the family’s longevity down to a diet high in fish – and homegrown vegetables from their garden.
And if the latest Bond star is anything like her mother she’ll still be gracing our screens in 20 years.