American Supermodel Defends Gadhafi Family, Loses Job

PHOTO: Mutassim Qadhafi, left, of Libya walks toward the media for a photo-op at the Department of State April 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Vanessa Hessler poses durind the press conference of Roma Fiction Fest, Sept. 23, 2011 in Rome, Italy.
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An American model who has appeared in ads for Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani and L'Oreal lost her biggest client Monday after she defended boyfriend Mutassim Gadhafi and the Gadhafi family in an interview with Italian media.

Vanessa Hessler, a blonde, long-legged 23-year-old Italian-American model, said that she had shared a "very beautiful love story" of four years with Mutassim Gadhafi, the 36-year-old son and heir of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi who died with his father in a last stand outside the Libyan city of Sirte on Oct. 21.

Hessler also said that the West had made a mistake in backing the rebels who ended Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year reign. "We, France and the United Kingdom, financed the rebels but people don't know what they are doing," Hessler told Italian magazine Diva e Donna, adding that she is disgusted by what is happening in Libya and that "the Gaddafi family is not how they are being depicted, they are normal people."

On Monday, Telefonica Germany fired Hessler from a job that had made her instantly recognizable to television viewers across Germany, France and Italy. For several years, Hessler had been known to the public as "Alice," the onscreen spokeswoman for the company's "Alice" internet service, but Telefonica declared an immediate end to the relationship with a Tweet. Telefonica said the model's romantic relationships were "private business," but the company "cannot accept her comments on the Libya conflict."

Hessler's Facebook page, however, has been flowing with messages of support from her fans congratulating her on her "courage and honesty". One fan consoled her on her firing with a picture that reads: "Stand for what is right even if you stand alone."

The model was born to an American father and an Italian mother and spent much of her formative years in Washington, D.C.

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