Her life reads like the plot of a summer blockbuster novel – and a Texan Playboy model’s eviction from her Italian mansion has shed fresh light on her fascinating backstory.
Rita Jenrette Boncompagni Ludovisi, 73, has just been evicted from her $533m villa in Rome – the most expensive house in the world, which she spent almost 20 years helping to renovate. It comes after a battle over her three stepchildren’s inheritance and maintenance of the mansion.
It has now emerged that Rita once helped Donald Trump broker the purchase of the $800m General Motors Building in Manhattan in 1998, which the former president still owns.
She said that the former President made an impression on her after announcing that he was a billionaire, adding: ‘No one has ever said to me, ‘I’m worth $3.5 billion,’ and I’ve been around a lot of wealthy people. So it kind of took me back. It was a surprise.’
Rita told Forbes that she helped broker $1 billion of real estate transactions between 1995 and 2001, with deals spanning from the East Coast to Arizona.
As part of her work she also co-founded a real estate company called Sullivan Jenrette, backed by Britain’s Intercapital investment firm.
But Rita’s foray into real estate didn’t stop her eviction from her 16th Century Italian mansion, which triggered global headlines and fresh stories on her action-packed life.
Rita grew up a Republican, but married a Dem lawmaker called John Jenrette. She once claimed they had sex on the steps of Congress – but now denies such a tryst ever took place. claiming they had sex with on the steps of Congress, something she later played down.
Born to C. Hunt Carpenter, a self-made millionaire who founded the Shamrock Insurance Company, and cattle fortune heiress Reba Garlington, the future princess grew up in a $1.4million property in San Antonio, Texas.
The princess fantasized about living in Rome and marrying from a young age, traveling to the city at just 16 with her older sister, Glady, who still lives in Texas.
Her relatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment by DailyMail.com.
Rita has no children, but has been married three times, first to US Army Pilot Edward Coleman in 1973, when she was just 22 years of age.
They honeymooned in Europe, and lived together at Lake Travis in central Texas along the Colorado River.
But that marriage didn’t last long, with the couple splitting just over a year later in 1974 – despite having a lavish wedding in St Mary’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Rita then announced a wedding to Democratic Representative John Jenrette Jr, after she had worked as a research director for the Republican National Committee.
Jenrette had divorced his first wife, Sally, in 1975, and was 40 when he married Rita, who was fourteen years his junior at 26.
The couple married in Alexandria, Virginia, with the bride resigning as the GOP’s research director in October 1975 after dating Jenrette.
She said that she left the job after being ordered by her bosses to spy on her new husband’s rival political party.
The congressman from South Carolina was convicted of bribery and conspiracy in 1980, as part of the Abscam sting, with Rita testifying in his defense.
He claimed that alcoholism made him lose his judgment when he accepted a $50,000 bribe form an undercover agent, resulting in him being sentenced to two years in prison, five on probation and fined $20,000.
The bribe offer was part of the Abscam investigation in which Federal agents posed as wealthy Arabs and offered several members of Congress bribes in exchange for favors.
One Senator and six Representatives, including Jenrette, were convicted of charges growing out of the investigation.
However, after the couple divorced the following year, she decided to pose topless for Playboy – which she claimed to the New Yorker was because of ‘years of cheating’.
Jenrette reportedly said that nobody would want to look at a twenty-nine-year-old woman with no clothes on, with Rita rebuffing: ‘I just thought, I’ll show you.’
Sensationally she claimed that they made love on the steps of the Capitol, something which she has now said that she exaggerated greatly for the publication.
In the essay she said that she had already ‘been found guilty of an equally serious offense: not fitting in.’
She wrote that her detractors believed she was ‘too flashy, too blonde, too outspoken’ to be a politician’s wife.
‘If you are living a public life and you don’t speak out openly and honestly,’ she wrote, ‘then what have you lived for?’
She even wrote a personal memoir after his conviction, called ‘My Capitol Secrets’, before moving to LA where she tried to reinvent herself as an actress.
Rita appeared on Fantasy Island in 1982, in movies like 1984’s Zombie Island Massacre and in 1986 appeared Off-Broadway in A Girl’s Guide to Chaos.
However, she said one of her favorite jobs was working as a correspondent for two years of the info-tainment series A Current Affair.
Her acting career slowly fizzled out, so the enterprising Texan switched to investment – following in her father’s’ footsteps.
She worked for investment firm Bridgewater under Ray Dalio before becoming a high-rolling real estate broker in New York.
Rita met her third husband, His Serene Highness Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi, then 61, through mutual friends in 2002.
She was told he was an Italian prince, interested in building a hotel at one of his palatial family properties located outside of Rome, but was unimpressed.
He invited her to Rome to visit the property, and married in 2009 – living together in Villa Aurora until his death in 2018.
They started restoring the property soon after they moved in, with Rita estimating they spent at least $10million on renovations.
Rita said: ‘I knew how important it was to him, and it became very important to me.
‘We gave up everything. I didn’t go out shopping and buy Birkin bags and shoes and the latest fashion—or anything else at all.’
Despite the photos causing a scandal in 1980’s Washington, she claims that she doesn’t regret the Playboy images – telling Forbes in 2021 that Prince Nicolo was ‘proud of her’.
The pair also had a bichon frise dog, which they referred to as their daughter, and spent many hours looking at museum-worthy murals of nature scenes by Pomarancio, Paul Bril, Giovanni Battista Viola, Domenichino and Guercino.
‘I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful life,’ she says of her time with her late husband.
But on Thursday, April 20 she was forced to pack her four bichon frise dogs into a taxi on after being evicted from the historic property which contains the only known ceiling painted by Caravaggio.
She was ‘brutally evicted’ from her home, moaning that she had ‘lovingly taken care’ of the building for the last 20 years.
A court ruled that she allowed an exterior wall in the world’s most expensive property to crumble – something which she denies.
Posting a video shortly before her eviction, she said: ‘It’s illegal. I think that it’s a travesty this is a brutal ending and unnecessary.
‘It didn’t have to happen this way I don’t get it. Someone said it’s because I’m a woman and I’m American
‘This is so illegal it’s incomprehensible what they’re doing. It’s all about money obviously.’
Rome Judge Miriam Iappelli issued an eviction order in January, accusing the princess of having violated a previous order forbidding her from conducting guided tours of the property.
Rita said the tours were necessary to raise money to maintain the villa. In addition, the judge found that the princess had failed to maintain the home in a ‘good state of conservation’ after an exterior wall allegedly crumbled.
But photos posted on social media show that a top piece of the wall appeared to have become dislodged, rather than the collapse of the structure entirely.
One of the heirs, Prince Bante Boncompagni Ludovisi, was on hand Thursday at the villa to watch ‘that woman,’ as he refers to his father’s widow, leave the property.
He said: ‘This house needs renovations. The pipelines of water need to be restored and the frescoes are in danger.
‘This is a country: We have our police, we have our judges and you need to respect our country and our laws if you stay here.’
It’s not clear who will now undertake the work on the house, which needs at least 11 million euros in renovations to bring it up to code.