15 Notorious Mafia Wives and Mistresses
The world of organized crime has always been a theater for some of the most riveting and captivating characters in history. Names like Al Capone, John Gotti, and Lucky Luciano have become legends, their stories etched in the annals of criminal lore.
Yet, behind the scenes of their dangerous lives, there exists an often overlooked and equally intriguing dimension: the women who stood by their sides, the mafia wives, and mistresses.
These women, often living in the shadows of their powerful partners, played roles as complex and dangerous as any mobster. They navigated a world where loyalty and betrayal, glamour, and danger coexisted.
In this article, we venture into the clandestine and ever-intriguing world of the mafia, shedding light on 15 notorious mafia wives and mistresses.
1. Virginia Hill
Virginia Hill was a notorious American gangster’s moll who was known for her beauty, lavish lifestyle, and close association with some of the most powerful mobsters of her time. She was born in Waldron, Arkansas, in 1916, and moved to Chicago as a teenager.
There, she quickly fell in with the city’s criminal underworld. Hill’s first major relationship was with Joe Adonis, a high-ranking member of the Luciano-Genovese crime family.
After Adonis died in 1935, Hill began dating Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, another powerful mobster affiliated with the Jewish Mob. Siegel is highly accredited as a contributing member in the development of the Las Vegas Strip.
Virginia Hill was instrumental in helping Siegal to develop the Flamingo Hotel, the first major resort on the Strip. Hill and Siegel’s relationship was passionate and tumultuous. They were known for their lavish spending and extravagant parties.
However, Siegel’s gambling debts and his involvement in the Flamingo Hotel’s financial problems eventually led to his downfall. He was murdered in 1947, and Hill was left devastated.
After Siegel’s death, Hill continued to live a lavish lifestyle. She was romantically linked to several other mobsters, including Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano.
Hill’s life came to a tragic end in 1962 when she was found dead in her hotel room in Austria. The official cause of death was an accidental overdose of sleeping pills, but there are many who believe that she was murdered.
2. Victoria DiGiorgio
Victoria DiGiorgio, a name synonymous with the glamour and intrigue of the mafia’s heyday, was the devoted wife of the infamous John Gotti. He was the head of the Gambino Crime Family, one of the Five Families of New York City.
Victoria stood by her husband, known as the “Teflon Don” for his ability to evade convictions, throughout his tumultuous rise and fall in the world of organized crime.
She met Gotti, who was married at the time in 1958 and the two began an affair almost immediately. They got married in 1962 and went on to have five children including John A. Gotti and Victoria Gotti.
Despite her husband’s notoriety and the numerous legal battles, they faced together, Victoria managed to maintain a certain elegance and poise. Her loyalty to John Gotti made her a symbol of steadfastness within the turbulent world of the mafia.
Victoria DiGiorgio lived to see her husband imprisoned, and she faced her own legal troubles during that time, but she remained a pillar of strength for her family.
3. Kimberly Albanese
Kimberly Albanese, better known as the “Mob Candy” of the underworld, was a mafia mistress who captivated the attention of organized crime enthusiasts and law enforcement alike. She was deeply entangled in the criminal web of the Gambino Crime Family.
In 1990, Albanese married mobster John “Junior” Gotti, son of notorious boss John Gotti, which brought her into the limelight. Albanese became famous for her lavish lifestyle, connections with high-ranking mob figures, and her involvement in the New York City nightlife scene.
Albanese and Junior Gotti have six children together including infamous MMA fighter John Gotti III. She stayed with Junior throughout the turbulent years when he faced racketeering charges in 1999, 2004, and 2008.
The couple currently are claimed to live on Long Island’s North Shore and Junior Gotti claims to have left the crime and mafia lifestyle behind him.
4. Gladys Rosamond Brittain
Gladys Rosamond Brittain was the wife of Roy DeMeo, a notorious mobster who was involved in the infamous DeMeo crew. The DeMeo crew was a group of contract killers who operated in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s and were affiliates of the Gambino crime family.
Gladys was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1939. She met Roy DeMeo in the late 1950s and they married in 1960. They had three children together, Albert DeMeo, and two daughters.
Gladys was aware of her husband’s criminal activities, but she turned a blind eye to them. She was more interested in living a luxurious lifestyle and enjoying the benefits of her husband’s wealth. Gladys was often seen at social events with other members of the mafia and their wives.
In 1983, Roy DeMeo was murdered by his own crew members. Gladys was devastated by her husband’s death and she struggled to cope with her grief.
Gladys Brittain was never arrested or charged with any crimes related to her husband’s mafia activities. She passed away on September 7th, 2002.
5. Rosemarie Billotti
Rosemarie Billotti was the mistress of Anthony Salvatore Casso, also known as “Gaspipe” Casso, the underboss of the Lucchese crime family.
Billotti met Casso before he was married to Lillian. Their affair continued way after Casso was married and he even set her up in her own house in Mount Olive, New Jersey.
Billotti was aware of Casso’s criminal activities, but she didn’t care. She was attracted to his dangerous lifestyle and she enjoyed the lavish lifestyle that he provided for her.
She was arrested several times on charges related to her involvement in Casso’s criminal activities. However, she was never convicted of any serious crimes.
This was until 1993 when Casso was arrested and charged with racketeering, murder, and other crimes. Billotti was also arrested at the same time as they both were in the Mount Olive house and charged with racketeering.
She pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to five years in prison. Billotti served her prison sentence and was released in 1998. She has since kept a low profile and has not been involved in any criminal activity.
6. Lillian Delduca
Lillian Delduca was the wife of Anthony Salvatore Casso, a powerful mobster who was the underboss of the Bonanno crime family. She was known as the “Queen of the Bonannos” and was feared by many in the mafia world.
Lillian was born in Brooklyn, New York. She met Anthony Casso when she was a teenager and they married on May 4th, 1968. The couple had two children together, a son and a daughter.
Lillian was a devoted wife and while always by her husband’s side kept her distance in many of his criminal activities. Although Casso was known to have had many infidelities, he claimed to only have ever loved his wife, Lillian.
Speaking to a biographer, “Women are drawn to us, the power, the money, and we’re drawn to them. But only in passing. Some guys treated their mistresses better than their wives, but that’s a fuckin’ outrage. No class. Only a cafone does that. I never loved any woman but Lillian. She and my family always came first.”
After his arrest in the house of his mistress Billotti, Lillian Casso “was incensed, and felt betrayed—violated—used”.
7. Judith Campbell Exner
Judith Exner is a name synonymous with intrigue and controversy. She was a model, actress, and singer in Los Angeles. While a widely known mobster moll, Judith is perhaps best known as the first of President John F. Kennedy’s mistresses to be publicly identified.
In 1960, Exner met Kennedy, who was then a senator and presidential candidate. The two began an affair, which lasted for several years even after he was elected president. Exner has claimed that she was introduced to Kennedy by Frank Sinatra.
Judith also claimed Sinatra introduced her to Sam Giancana, the boss of the Chicago mafia boss. Judith claimed to have had an affair with Sam for several years as well as his associate and fellow mobster John Roselli.
8. Mae Capone
Born Mary Josephine Coughlin, Mae was the wife of infamous gangster Al Capone (Scarface). She was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1897 married Capone in 1918, and had one son, Albert “Sonny” Francis Capone, three weeks before their wedding.
Mae was a devoted wife and mother, and she stood by Capone through thick and thin. While it is said she was not involved with Al’s crimes, she was greatly affected.
She is claimed to have told her son, “Not to do what your father did. He broke my heart.” Perhaps referring to Al’s infidelity from which he presumably contracted syphilis.
In 1931, Capone was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison. Mae followed him to Alcatraz Island, where he served his sentence.
In 1939, Capone was released from prison and he and Mae moved to Florida. He died of syphilis in 1947 at the age of 48. Mae remained in Florida until her death in 1986 at the age of 89.
9. Karen Friedman Hill
Karen Friedman Hill was the wife of Henry Hill, a mobster who was associated with the Lucchese crime family. She was born in 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, and married Hill in 1965. They had two children together, Gregg and Gina.
In 1980, Karen’s husband Henry was arrested and charged with narcotics trafficking. Facing a long sentence, he became an informant and testified against his former associates.
This led to the arrest and conviction of many high-ranking mobsters. Hill and her family were placed into the Witness Protection Program.
However, Henry was charged yet again and convicted leading to expulsion from the witness protection program. Karen filed for divorce in 1990 and continues to use aliases
Hill’s story was told in the 1985 book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi and the 1990 film “Goodfellas” by Martin Scorsese. She was portrayed in the film by Lorraine Bracco in the film.
10. Katherine Greig
Katherine Greig, perhaps best known for her involvement with the notorious Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger, was a central figure in one of the most gripping crime sagas of our time.
As the long-time girlfriend of Bulger, a powerful figure in the Winter Hill Gang, Greig stood by his side for decades. She helped him evade capture while he was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Their life on the run came to a dramatic end in 2011 when they were finally apprehended in Santa Monica, California. Greig faced charges related to harboring a fugitive and identity fraud.
Her loyalty to Bulger, and the couple’s years-long evasion of law enforcement, made their story a true crime legend. Her arrest marked the closing chapter in their remarkable saga, as Bulger faced trial and was ultimately sentenced to life in prison, while Greig herself was sentenced to prison for eight years for her role in aiding and abetting a notorious criminal.
Their story remains a compelling chapter in the annals of organized crime in the United States.
11. Maria Filippa Messina
Maria Filippa Messina was the wife of Nino Cinturino. At age 26, Messina took over from her husband who was incarcerated for ordering the killing of a rival gangster and his mother.
However, while she did lead the mafia for several years, Maria was ultimately arrested in 1995. She became the first woman in Italy to be sentenced to time in a maximum-security prison.
12. Maria Licciardi
Maria Licciardi, also known as “La Piccolotta” or “The Little One”, and La Madrina, or “The Godmother” is the former head of the Licciardi clan, a powerful section of the Camorra clan in Naples, Italy.
She is one of the most powerful women in the Italian mafia and is known for her ruthlessness and intelligence. Maria became the kingpin after the arrest of her father and husband Antonio Teghemié and her brothers Pietro and Vincenzo.
Licciardi was born into the Licciardi clan in 1951. Her father, Antonio Licciardi, was the leader of the clan at the time. She was raised in the world of the mafia and learned the ropes from a young age.
In 1993, her father was arrested and she took over as head of the clan. She quickly proved herself to be a capable leader. She expanded the clan’s territory and influence, and she established a reputation for being ruthless and intelligent.
In 2001, Licciardi was arrested and charged with a variety of crimes, including murder, drug trafficking, and extortion. Before her arrest, Maria was named one of the “30 most wanted Italians” and was forced to go into hiding.
She was sentenced to 8 years in prison. However, she was released in 2009 due to health problems.
13. Griselda Blanco
Griselda Blanco, also known as the “Godmother of Cocaine,” was a Colombian drug lord who rose to power in the 1970s and 1980s. She was married to several men some members of the Medellín Cartel, and she became one of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world.
Blanco was known for her ruthlessness and her willingness to use violence to get what she wanted. She was responsible for importing billions of dollars worth of cocaine into the United States. She also oversaw a number of murders and other crimes.
Blanco was arrested in 1985 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. She was released in 2004 and deported to Colombia. She was murdered in Medellín in 2012.
Blanco is one of the most notorious mafia wives in history. She was a powerful and ruthless drug lord who played a major role in the cocaine trade.
Blanco’s story has been told in the documentaries Cocaine Cowboys (2006) and Cocaine Cowboys 2 (2008). Catherine Zeta-Jones even brought the character of Griselda Blanco to life in the television biopic Cocaine Godmother, which premiered in 2018.
Here are some of history’s notorious drug dealers!
14. Kathryn Kelly
Kathryn Kelly, the wife of George “Machine Gun” Kelly, was one of the most notorious mafia wives of her time. She was known for her beauty, her intelligence, and her unwavering loyalty to her husband.
Kelly was born in 1904 in Oklahoma City. She met George Kelly referred to as “Machine Gun Kelly” in 1927, and they were married a year later. The couple quickly became a power couple in the underworld, with Kelly serving as her husband’s chief confidante and advisor.
In 1933, Kathryn was arrested for the kidnapping and ransoming of business tycoon, Charles F. Urshchel. She attempted to sell out Kelly but he was arrested before any deal could be reached with the FBI.
Both, including their families, were sentenced to life in prison. She was released after 25 years and she went to live with her mother in Oklahoma City.
She died in 1985 at the age of 81.
15. Maria Teresa Castellano
Maria Teresa Castellano, known for her connection to the world of organized crime, was the wife of Vittorio “Little Vic” Amuso, a notorious figure in the Lucchese Crime Family.
Maria Teresa became infamous for her association with Amuso, who rose through the ranks of the Lucchese Family to become its boss. This relationship made her a prominent figure in the criminal underworld.
Her connection to Amuso likely exposed her to the inner workings of the Lucchese Family and its criminal activities. While Amuso was known for his ruthless leadership, Maria Teresa Castellano largely remained in the shadows.
However, specific details about her involvement are relatively limited. Unlike some other mafia figures’ wives, Maria Teresa Castellano managed to maintain a lower profile and avoid public notoriety or legal entanglements to a significant degree.
This discretion might have contributed to her relative obscurity compared to other mafia wives and mistresses.
These mafia wives and mistresses offer a glimpse into the complex, often hidden, world of those who chose to stand beside some of history’s most brutal criminals. Their lives were marked by loyalty, sacrifice, and a remarkable resilience in the face of danger.
While their associations with crime may forever stain their legacies, it’s essential to recognize the multidimensional roles they played—often trapped between love and treachery, tradition and defiance.