Meet the real Christian Grey

Selling houses just got sexy.

Christian Grey — the mysterious lead character in "50 Shades of Grey" — was based on a smolderingly hot Italian real estate agent.

Alessandro Proto, 39, is believed to have been British author E.L. James' main inspiration when she came to pen the mega-successful steamy S&M trilogy.

The duo met back in 2010 when James was touring Italy writing about international celebrities snapping up properties in the country.

Proto, who claims to have brokered home deals with stars such as Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Madonna, spent two days travelling with the author from Milan to Lake Como.

He claims James featured several aspects of that journey in her books, where Grey slowly turns 21-year-old Anastasia Steele into his own personal sex slave.

"The firm Grey runs in the book is called Grey Enterprise Holding. Mine is called Proto Organization Holding," the former encyclopedia salesman, born in Milan, said.

"When I met E.L. James I used to drive a R8 Audi," he added, saying it was also mirrored in the fiction.

Proto says the top floor location of his office was used in the book.

"My office is located at the 8th floor. It is the highest in the building. I came from nothing, so I see top floors as a metaphor for achievement and success," he said.

Notoriously media-shy Proto, who's only given four interviews in the last four years, claims his "mystique" also influenced the saga's main character.

"Christian Grey doesn’t like speaking to reporters, so he builds up a mystery that surrounds him," he said.

"Everyone knows he made it, but nobody knows how he reached success. Same with me," he added.

Proto also revealed that, during his time with James, she asked why he never granted interviews. "I just told her the truth. I wanna focus on my job, nothing else," he replied.

Despite inspiring the kinky star of the book, Proto revealed - however - that his own sexual tastes were a little more "old fashioned."

"Everything that has to do with S&M is pure imagination, I assure you. I'm an old fashioned man when it comes to sex, I'm not into that kind of fantasies," he added.

Proto said he'd been bombarded with fan mail ever since his name was linked as being the inspiration behind the character, with a group of Swiss women even founding a fan club.

"When they told me I couldn't believe my ears. I started receiving lots of indecent proposals on my work mail," he added.

"At times it can be pretty annoying. I don't like gossip and showbiz, I'm a businessman, that's what I do for a living and it is my main purpose in life."

And he revealed that he only made it through a few pages of the book.

"I started reading it because I was curious to know what the press was writing about me, but I quit after a few pages," he said.

"It's really not my thing. I think it was a well planned marketing operation though. Huge one. But that's it."

Proto, tipped to have a cameo role in the upcoming "50 Shades" movie, could be forgiven for not wanting to focus on his celebrity status.

He was arrested on Valentine's Day last year on charges of manipulating the financial market. Granted parole, it will be served up on Valentine's Day 2015.