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Stripper Who Spurred Royal Divorce Tells All

September 20, 1996 GMT

PARIS (AP) _ The romp that prompted a royal divorce suit was no set-up, according to the stripper caught on film with the husband of Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

Fili Houteman, the reigning Miss Nude Belgium, said she believes Daniel Ducruet loved her, but their tender, passionate relationship turned bitter when the scandal broke.

Photographs of the August tryst were splashed across European newspapers and magazines, sending Stephanie to her lawyer to seek a divorce, expected within five weeks.

Ms. Houteman, interviewed for the French television show ``Tout Est Possible″ (Anything Is Possible), denied a suggestion by the angry Ducruet that she set him up.

The two, who first met at an auto race for three days, got together again at his prompting at her friend’s villa on the Cote d’Azur, she said, adding they were always surrounded by Ducruet’s bodyguards.

Jean-Marc Morandini, the show’s star, said Ms. Houteman took no money for the 90-minute interview in a Paris hotel. Excerpts were shown Thursday night from the interview earlier this week.

When the photos appeared, Ducruet called and demanded ``are you happy with what you did?″ she said.

``I saw another side of his personality ... violent, egotistical. He thought only of saving his situation,″ she said. ``I think he was lost, ready to do anything to save himself.″

Before that, Ducruet, 32, was a tender, attentive man, Ms. Houteman said, ``a big child, in fact.″

Asked if he loved her, she replied, ``I think so, yes.″

Ms. Houteman said she thought Ducruet saw her as an ``escape hatch″ to duck the constraints of royal life in the Riviera principality.

Ducruet, a former fishmonger only grudgingly accepted by his royal in-laws, married Stephanie, 31, in July 1995 after the birth of their two children, Louis and Pauline.

There have been rumors that Ducruet was framed. His lawyer, Guillaume Carre, said this week that Ducruet was filing a lawsuit to find out who may have set him up.

``He knew I was a strip-teaser ... and he was the husband of Princess Stephanie,″ Ms. Houteman said.

Asked what she would tell him if he were watching the show, Ms. Houteman said he should not forget their relationship because ``It was too beautiful.″