Silvio Berlusconi is “no stranger to controversy,” said Barbie Latza Nadeau in The Daily Beast. But the gaffe-prone Italian prime minister, at 72, is about to face the biggest threat ever “to his reputation and personal fortune: divorce court.” Berlusconi’s wife of 19 years, Veronica Lario, 52, has finally had enough of his “humiliating shenanigans” and public philandering. With no prenup, Lario is likely to get a “substantial” slice of Berlusconi’s $9.4 billion fortune.

Fittingly for a media magnate, said Rachel Donadio in The New York Times, the split has “unfolded almost entirely” in Italy’s tabloids. Lario’s public call for divorce followed “days of drama” in which she criticized Berlusconi’s “shamelessly trashy” choice to run a slate of female TV stars and models for European Parliament and accused him of cavorting with the barely-18 Noemi Letizia. (View Berlusconi’s women, via The Daily Beast)

After a short ,“uncharacteristic silence,” Berlusconi “let fly with both barrels,” said Peter Popham in the London Independent, issuing a point-by-point rebuttal of Lario and accusing her of being duped by leftist newspapers. The Left has its own ideas: With few charismatic leaders, many see Lario and her “unique insider knowledge” as their best hope to send Berlusconi “running for cover.”