Whatever Happened To Fabio?

Like Madonna, Rihanna, and Shakira, Italian-American male supermodel Fabio Lanzoni is one of those celebrities who became renowned by a mononymous name only. The star also became renowned for shedding his clothes at any given opportunity — as well as being the victim of a bizarre goose-slash-rollercoaster collision that left his strong nose covered in blood.

Yes, back in the '80s and '90s, Fabio repeatedly showed off his ridiculously muscular physique in everything from Nintendo swashbucklers and Hollywood movies to pin-up calendars and fragrance ads. But it was in the deceptively popular arena of pulp romance novels that the star's penchant for going shirtless was best utilized, as he graced literally hundreds of swoonsome front covers.

However, in recent years, the once-ubiquitous heartthrob has largely been missing from the spotlight. So what has he been up to? From hair care ranges and heartbreak to political ambitions and papal cosplay, here's the lowdown on what happened to Fabio.

Fabio launched a men's hair range 

Ever wish you had the same luscious locks you could run your fingers through as Fabio? Well, there's finally a chance that you can. In 2021, the supermodel teamed up with a couple of Australian entrepreneurs, Liam Robinson and Daniel Phillips, to launch a hair and skincare range. And the name's James. Aston James. Yes, merging the first names of 007 and his vehicle of choice, the luxurious Aston Martin, the brand offers a variety of premium preening products featuring Fabio's seal of approval. Or as their website states, "We set out to bring the experience of buying a Rolex to the men's personal care space."

This wasn't the first time that Fabio had gone into business, of course. In 2002, he created the casual women's clothing line, Sam's Club, and five years later he founded Healthy Planet Vitamins. So what inspired him to add to his business portfolio? In an interview with Daily Mail Australia, Fabio explained, "Australia and New Zealand are years ahead of everybody in terms of homeopathic remedies. You have plant extracts you can't find in any other place in the world. When they [Robinson and Phillips] approached me with the idea, I knew it would be ... a perfect combination. The products have an Italian-style package, it's a very chic, very luxury line."

He still looks after himself

Fabio might not be in the limelight as much as he was in his '80s and '90s heyday, but you could never accuse the Italian-American of letting himself go. Even after entering his golden years, the supermodel has retained his youthful appearance, muscular physique, and luscious locks. So how does he do it?

Well, in a 2021 interview with Relauncher, Fabio revealed that it's a mixture of hard work, willpower, and a complete aversion to anything made by Haribo. "My secret to feeling my best at 61 is an active lifestyle, a wholesome diet, and no alcohol. I do not drink or eat sweets, and I make sure I take vitamins, [and] eat protein and minerals as those three working together will help your body absorb the necessary nutrients." The pin-up, who once used to advertise the slightly less nutritional I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, added that he maintains a strong level of fitness by doing cardio every day like running, cycling, or hiking. "I also like to use free weights in the gym, but now I focus on less weight but more reps." 

However, as he told the Daily Mail Australia, sustaining peak physical health wasn't his only focus, as he continues to nurture his mind too. Comparing the human body to a car, he proclaimed, "You could have the best beautiful engine and the most beautiful body, but if you forget the wheels, you're flat, you don't go anywhere."

Fabio became a U.S. citizen 

Born in Milan in 1959, Fabio moved to America to seek fame and fortune at the age of 14. But it took another four decades for the world's first male supermodel to gain U.S. citizenship. Yes, Fabio was 57 when he finally got to declare on oath, "I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty."

"This is one of the happiest days of my life," Fabio gushed in 2016 on the day he was sworn in alongside 6,000 others at the Los Angeles Convention Center, per CNN. "Over the course of my career, I've had the opportunity to travel the globe and America is still the greatest country on earth. There is no such thing as an Italian dream or an English dream but the American dream is alive and well." In an interview with Yahoo! Movies, he elaborated that he fell madly in love with the U.S. from the second he set foot here. "So [gaining citizenship] was like I married my first love," he said. The star noted that it took him 43 years to make things official because the process was made to sound overly complicated. In reality, he found it to be a breeze.

And it seems that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services were just as delighted to count Fabio as one of their own. A spokesperson for the agency tweeted, "America just got better hair!"

He once played The Pope 

During his prime, Fabio appeared in a dozen or so movies, including comedies like "Spy Hard," "Dude, Where's My Car," and "Zoolander." But these were mostly self-effacing cameos. But, even when he wasn't playing himself, his parts weren't exactly a stretch. Handsome Man in "Scenes from a Mall" or Lisle's Bodyguard in "Death Becomes Her" likely didn't challenge Fabio's pre-existing charms or skillset. 

However, in 2017, Fabio got the chance to truly show off his thespian skills with a role worlds apart from his former day job — the head of the Catholic Church. Yes, the muscle man played The Pope in the fifth installment of the so-bad-it's-good "Sharknado" franchise, "Global Swarming," joining a whole host of random celebs including Clay Aiken as a British tech whiz, Greg Louganis as an art thief, and Charo as the Queen of England.

Fabio barely got a minute of screentime sporting his papal attire. Regardless, he was still super-excited at the opportunity to flex his acting muscles, telling ET, "When they told me, it was like, 'Oh my god! I'm going to play the pope?'"

He claimed Gianni Versace ripped him off

Fabio's male supermodel status was further cemented in the '90s when he was asked to front the advertising campaign for the late fashion designer, Gianni Versace's fragrance, Mediterraneum. According to the pin-up, the partnership was a lucrative one — or, it should have been. During an appearance on the podcast, "People in the '90s," Fabio claimed that he only received a fraction of the money promised in the multi-million contract he signed with the fashion house, and alleged that he was owed an extra million. Furthermore, he held that its late figurehead, who was fatally shot outside his home in 1997, was wholly responsible for the alleged underpayment. "You know, unfortunately, Versace wasn't a very honest man, God bless his soul, but the truth is the truth," he said. "He wasn't a very honest person."

Fabio went on to argue that he was instrumental in Mediterraneum's success. "When I started advertising, all of a sudden it became one of the best colognes out there. I was doing appearances — 15,000, 18,000, 20,000 people were showing up outside of Saks Fifth Avenue," he claimed. A spokesperson for Versace refused to comment on the matter, according to the Daily Mail.

Fabio appeared in a Trisha Paytas music video 

You might not be aware that Fabio added recording artist to his vast list of career achievements. Well, he at least tried to, anyway — in 1993 with the album "Fabio After Dark," a 17-track collection in which vocals from the likes of Dionne Warwick and Billy Ocean were interspersed with the model's musings on life and romance. Unsurprisingly, the record didn't take off and the American-Italian called time on his short-lived music career.

Still, Fabio at least went on to grace several other artists' music videos. In 1995, he played Jill Sobule's love interest in the promo for "I Kissed a Girl" — not to be confused with the Katy Perry song of the same name. And then in 2019, he took on a similar role for messy YouTube sensation Trisha Paytas' "Miss You In My Sheets."

The pin-up got to show off his muscular physique while getting intimate with Paytas under a waterfall, with the unlikely pair also writhing around on a beachside bed in a state of undress. Although the promo was never going to trouble the MTV VMAs, Fabio still seemed proud of it, telling his Instagram followers in a rare social media post, "Y'all gonna love it, I promise you that!"

He is on the lookout for an Australian wife

Despite being lusted after by romance novel readers for decades, Fabio has never been made an honest man. But although he's now in his sixties, the Italian-American hasn't given up hope of making it down the aisle — and he's become very specific about the kind of lady he wants to marry.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph in 2021, Fabio revealed, "I love Australian women. I want to look for a wife down in Australia. They're the best — they're beautiful, and they're really nice, down to earth. That's the best combination for a woman." The supermodel's comments echoed the slightly old-fashioned ones he made to Australia's "The Morning Show" (via Daily Mail) that same week, where he applauded the female population of Australia for what he regarded as one of their best qualities – being very domesticated. When challenged on what he meant by the comment, he clarified, "You are real women ... You really know how to take care of a man."

When asked by The Daily Telegraph why he was single, he explained, "I look for the entire package — mind, body, and soul. It's very hard to find people who are happy with themselves, and I'm very happy with myself. You need the whole combination."

Fabio still regrets the one that got away

The closest that Fabio has got to settling down was back in the 1980s when he forged a six-year relationship with another model, a L'Oreal regular named Jennifer. And although decades have passed since their split, the romance novelist still regrets letting her go.

In a candid 2015 interview with The Washington Post, Fabio spoke fondly of the girlfriend four years his junior who he first met at the age of 23. "She had the biggest heart, was always there, was caring and loving. But I was too young and too wild," he said. But the supermodel's hedonistic streak wasn't the only factor in his decision to call it quits. He also relied upon some parental advice which he now wishes he'd completely ignored. "My mom, she goes, 'Fabio, if you're not 100 percent that you're going to marry her, you have to let her go. You can't keep her there waiting for you. But she's an amazing woman and you're going to regret it for the rest of your life,'" he recalled. "She was right." 

The one that got away is a hot topic of conversation for the model, who has dished about his heartbreak several times. During his appearance on "People of the '90s," he added that his long-lost love has since settled down with a family. Meanwhile, he told New Idea, "I tried to get her back, but she changed her number."

He isn't a fan of social media

Perhaps one of the reasons why it feels as though Fabio has disappeared off the face of the Earth is his lack of an online presence. The "Sharknado 5: Global Swarming" star doesn't have a Facebook or Twitter account and his Instagram posts average just a handful a year. Speaking to Yahoo! Movies in 2016, Fabio explained why he's yet to jump on board the social media revolution, "I have a life. You know what, something right now that drives me crazy is people are always taking a selfie. It's like, Hello. Live life. You have to take a selfie and post it, ya know — 'Look at me, I'm on Fifth Avenue. Now I'm on Sixth Avenue. Now I'm on Seventh.' Who cares? Get a life."

Fabio also believes that his intellect is more likely to remain intact if he focuses more on things in the real world. He added, "A lot of people today don't live life anymore. It's computer, phone, tablet. Their brains are going to be fried 15 years from now. I love life and I spend every single minute living it." His disdain for such platforms even extends to his love life. In 2021, he told People that being obsessed with social media was a dealbreaker in a relationship. Instead, he wanted someone who valued strolling outdoors over scrolling a screen. "She has to be able to be in the middle of nature," he said.

Fabio wants to get tough on crime

Having spent the New Year's Eve of 2016 at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, it was little surprise to see Fabio popping up as the then-president-elect's most fervent mainstream media supporter. And like most guests, the Italian-American spent his 2017 appearance on the Fox News network in a fit of rage.

Fabio had taken umbrage with Proposition 57, California's recently approved bill which allowed nonviolent criminals the privilege of more parole options. Indeed, the male supermodel told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" (via Vanity Fair) that in no uncertain terms, he believed the policy was having a hugely negative effect on the Golden State. "Instead of taking the side of the government, Governor Jerry Brown took the side of the criminal," he griped.

It's not clear why a man best known for taking his shirt off on the front cover of romance novels was deemed suitable to discuss American criminal law. Nevertheless, Fabio embraced the opportunity to tell it as he saw it, adding, "I'm telling you, it's an epidemic. Out of my friends, about 14 people got burglarized or robbed. As people, we have to take the law's side, we have to stand behind the police, not behind the criminal."

His home was burglarized

In 2017, the same year he told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that California needs to be tougher on criminals, Fabio found himself the victim of a high-end robbery. Thieves reportedly nabbed valuables from the supermodel's West Valley home worth a six-figure sum in what looked to be the latest in a long line of celebrity targets.

Fabio told CBS-LA that he believed the crime was more spontaneous than organized. Nevertheless, the star was still left feeling upset by the violation. "My watches, I lost about 200K in value ... four beautiful watches I really loved and they're gone," he explained. "You get really, really angry."

The romance icon, who once again reiterated his opposition to the Golden State's early release policy for convicted felons and blamed it for the crime, then urged other victims like Alanis Morisette, Nicki Minaj, and Derek Fisher to band together. "Every single celebrity out there ... please come out, support the cops, this is a people issue, and we need your support."

Fabio has thought about running for office

After gaining his United States citizenship in 2016, Fabio started thinking about following in the footsteps of another European muscleman who became a naturalized American. Indeed, shortly after swearing the oath, the supermodel revealed that, just like the one-time Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, he'd be interested in running for office.

Fabio told Page Six, "I'm a people person. I love people. I would definitely go for the people." But the Milan-born star believed that this particular quality would be more of a hindrance than a help, adding, "In politics, you don't go that far when you just go for the people."

Of course, these comments were made before the most surprising presidential election result in modern history. And although Fabio didn't appear to believe that Donald Trump would emerge victorious, he did profess nothing but admiration for the entrepreneur-turned-president. "I think the [election] is going to be the most incredible TV you've ever seen in your life — nobody is going to watch the reality shows anymore," he gushed. "Donald Trump speaks his mind. If you like it or you don't like it, at least you know where he stands."

Fabio has a new-found zest for life

In 2013, Fabio suffered heartbreak when his 48-year-old sister Christina died of cancer. The siblings had been particularly close and the supermodel was understandably left reeling from the news. However, he also managed to take something positive from the tragedy. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times five years later, Fabio explained how Christina's death had made him appreciate just how short our time on Earth is. "Since I lost my sister, I decided to enjoy my life, no matter what. When I want to work, I can. But I don't have to work, so I usually say no. I know it doesn't matter how much money you have. So I live every single moment, because I know I can't get it back when it is gone."

Of course, the muscle man's idea of enjoyment is probably a little different from most of us. Fabio revealed that nothing makes him happier than hour-long sessions of lifting weights and cardio at least four times every week. But he also cited things that don't leave you helplessly out of breath — dinner, fun, friends, and laughter. Speaking to Dr. Nancy Berk for Parade, he added that in order to truly treasure life, you need to have a good time without worrying about what everyone else thinks. "You have to have fun and don't take yourself too seriously," he urged. "Have fun with life, 'cause life is too short."

He set the record straight about that goose accident

Fabio may have appeared on countless romance novel front covers, graced several hit Hollywood movies, and established himself as the first-ever male supermodel. But for some, he will still forever be best known for colliding with a goose on a theme park rollercoaster. However, more than two decades after the event, Fabio claimed that he hadn't actually been hit by a feathered friend at all.

Referring to the Apollo's Chariot ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, the Italian-American explained what actually happened to Fox News. "Over the pond there was a bunch of geese there. I'm talking about hundreds. And one got sucked in. I saw this very up close," he said. "What happened, the goose hit the video camera. The video camera shattered. At 85 miles per hour. I ... turn my head. And I saw ... the metal passing by and cut the bridge of my nose." He went on to clarify that his injuries looked far worse than they actually were, with blood from the wound getting spilled in all directions as the roller coaster rocketed along, and went upside down. "So when I came off, my face was bloody," he said. In reality, the injury required just a single stitch.

Luckily, Fabio is still able to see the funny side of things. "You'll be a miserable b*stard if you take your life seriously," he elaborated. "Let's have some fun. Let's laugh."