Who's the real Christian Grey? Rumor has it E.L. James modeled the BDSM billionaire after Mr. Proto.
Is Christian Grey real?! It turns out Fifty Shades Of Grey author E.L. James may have based the BDSM-loving billionaire on a real man. Who is he?
No, it's not Jamie Dornan! His name is Alessandro Proto, and he's an Italian businessman who deals with real estate. The hunky home-dealer has sold pricey Lake Como properties to the likes of Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, all while he traveled the country with James, who was reporting on celebs at the time.
But don't expect Proto to talk about it. "Christian Grey doesn't like speaking to reporters, so he builds up a mystery that surrounds him," he told The New York Daily News. "Everyone knows he made it, but nobody knows how he reached success. Same with me."
As for why the megarich mystery man keeps quiet with press, Proto was honest with James: He only gives an average of an interview a year because he doesn't want distractions. "I just told her the truth. I wanna focus on my job, nothing else."
Of course, that hasn't always been easy. "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."
Proto did attempt to read some of the smutty pages, but couldn't muster the gumption or curiosity to make it through too much of the books. "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."
Still, he admits there are indeed plenty of parallels between himself and Christian Grey. "The firm Grey runs in the book is called Grey Enterprise Holding. Mine is called Proto Organization Holding. When I met E.L. James I used to drive a R8 Audi."
More from YourTango!