The girlfriend of Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini announced the couple's breakup on Monday in an intimate post to Instagram.
Italian TV presenter Elisa Isoardi, 35, posted the intimate photo of herself and a topless Salvini with the caption: "It’s not what we gave each other that I will miss but what we still could have given each other… With enormous respect for the true love that was, thank you, Matteo."
Salvini responded in a Facebook post, seemingly unimpressed with his former girlfriend's public display.
"For education, character and respect, I have never thrown away my private life, and I will not begin to do it now," the 45-year-old wrote. "I have loved, I have forgiven, sure I have also made mistakes, but I believed in it until the end."
This latest online drama comes at an awkward time for Salvini, who is the the leader of Italy's far-right League party, as the Italians embroil in an ongoing dispute with the European Union over the country's national budget.
Salvini on social media
Salvini's social media strategy is notoriously savvy, having doubled support for his party in seven months with postings across major platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, and sharing content through closed networks, such as Telegram and Whatsapp.
Euronews spoke to University of Turin Assistant Professor Giuliano Bobba, who studied the likability of populism on social media during the 2018 Italian elections, on Salvini's use of social media.
"The point is, Salvini tries to use social media simply to have a link with ordinary people. He tries to post all kind of emotion and intimate aspects of his life."
"On his latest post, there are more than 6,000 comments saying things like 'you are a good guy' and 'you are a gentleman.' This is exactly what he wants, and what he is looking for. Being perceived as more human and closer than other politicians."
"This populism idea is that 'I am one of you.' And he is succeeding."
Results from a poll released last Friday by La Repubblica newspaper showed most Italians believe the 45-year-old is the true head of Italy's government, despite Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte holding that position.
The poll found that 58 percent believed Salvini was in charge, versus 16 percent for Conte.