They were seen as opera's answer to the Beckhams – or perhaps, more appropriately, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Fiesty and ferociously talented, soprano Angela Gheorghiu and her husband Roberto Alagna, a French tenor, captivated audiences with their vocals – and fascinated opera fans with their relationship. When Romania-born Miss Gheorghiu announced – for the second time – that she was divorcing Mr Alagna, in January, opera lovers were saddened.
But now the community has been stunned by her allegations about Mr Alagna's temper and fiery mood swings.
"It's the most black page of my life," said Miss Gheorghiu, 47.
In January she announced that they were separating, and that the divorce was mutual. But the latest claims put a far more dramatic spin on events."I said everything, I did everything, until the last moment: I said to myself it is not true, I cannot accept it," she said.
"OK, now I accept – so, basta. A person like that will never, ever change."
"Crying and singing, singing and crying: maybe I cry more than I sing. I was so tired – from screaming and crying."
Miss Gheorghiu had escaped from Ceausescu's Romania, where her father was a train driver and her mother a dressmake
She has earned a reputation as a demanding diva, who once threw a bucket of water over buskers in Covent Garden, and was notoriously late-running. She told the press her husband was jealous of her singing with other men – but that she was having none of it. Alagna is now said to be enjoying the company of another eastern European soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, while Gheorghiu has admitted a romance with Cézar, a flamboyant Romanian counter-tenor, 15 years younger than she is, who represented his country in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
When contacted by The Daily Telegraph, Mr Alagna's representative declined to comment on the allegations.