The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Sopranos... People simply love mobsters. The Mafia of the U.S., or La Cosa Nostra, however, is not only an overused Hollywood trope but also a real phenomenon. La Cosa Nostra is a notorious criminal organization, concentrated in New York and New Jersey. Fueled by the 1920 Prohibition era, organized crime and gangs started to reap profits through bootlegging, illegal activities, trafficking, racketeering, and secret oaths.
Yet, many people admired short-tempered and brutal gangsters like Al Capone and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. In fact, John Gotti — one of the most notorious and dangerous mob bosses across the U.S. and the rest of the world — enjoyed near-mythic status. John Gotti turned to a life of crime at the age of 12, and by his 21st birthday, Gotti had been arrested several times. Pursuing a life of danger, Gotti became the boss of the infamous Gambino family, one of the most powerful crime organizations in the U.S.
For Victoria Gotti, however, the Teflon Don was just a father who was trying to provide for his family. Although growing up with John Gotti was a mixed bag, Victoria once said, "They don't make men like him anymore and they never will."
So, here are 20 things about the childhood of Victoria, the famous Dapper Don's daughter.
20 The Gotti Family Led A Modest Life
Growing up Gotti was not so easy. Although John Gotti created one of the most powerful criminal syndicates in the U.S., the Gottis led a modest life. John Gotti and his wife Victoria DiGiorgio welcomed five kids, Victoria, John, Frank, Peter, and Angel. Interestingly enough, according to biography.com, Victoria Gotti and her siblings were raised with old-fashioned family values and strict rules. Victoria DiGiorgio even made all the children’s clothes and cut their hair.
Though John Gotti was one of the most powerful mob bosses across the U.S. and the world, his children were ordinary kids who loved playing in the streets of New York.
19 A Memorable Birth Story
Victoria Gotti is one of the most famous children of John Gotti. She was born in 1962 in Brooklyn, New York. Interestingly enough, she was introduced to a life of crime straight after birth. Although John Gotti wasn’t present when his wife went into labor, Victoria’s birth was more than memorable.
Victoria Gotti told eonline.com, "I've told this story a million times. About how my father stole me from the hospital since they didn't have money to pay the bill. It sets my father up as a noble criminal, a Robin Hood." Did John Gotti give back to the poor, though?
18 Why Are Big Families So Happy
Are big families happy? Despite all the chaos, cries, and struggles, studies show that more kids lead to greater happiness. As the talented author Tolstoy wrote in his masterpiece Anna Karenina, "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." With five children, it’s only logical to conclude that John Gotti’s family was one happy family.
Nevertheless, the Gotti family has been involved in numerous scandals, trials, goings-on, and criminal activities, sentencing the Gottis to a life of constant unease, social media attention, and family drama. As John Gotti’s daughter Victoria revealed in her memoirs, her big family was not a happy family at all.
17 Strict Parenting and Poverty Made Her Successful
Looking at the Kardashians and their lavish empire, you might think that all rich kids are spoiled. Nevertheless, Victoria Gotti didn’t live like royalty. The Gottis led a simple life and Victoria was raised in a modest house without many toys or modern appliances. In an interview, Victoria admits, "Now, I could describe it in a more intellectual manner and know what it was: hard. Then, I didn't. We were poor, we grew up most of my childhood without my father. My mother was holding down five children and struggling."
In addition, according to biography.com, John Gotti introduced strict curfews and even insisted on screening Victoria’s boyfriends.
16 Gotti Kept Victoria And Her Siblings In The Dark
It’s not a secret that John Gotti became one of the most infamous and dangerous people across the U.S. His outspoken personality and charm, though, gained John Gotti lots of media attention and he became known as the Dapper Don because of his fancy clothes and bohemian style.
Nevertheless, John Gotti kept Victoria and her siblings in the dark. Victoria Gotti told biography.com, "I was raised to believe... none of what you hear, and only half of what you see." Despite their unusual childhood, little Victoria and her siblings, John, Frank, Peter, and Angel, loved each other and were best friends.
15 Family Tragedy And Sibling Love
The Gottis grew up in poverty and not being at ease. In 1980, Victora’s life changed. Her brother, Frank, passed away in an accident. The man who was accused was Gotti’s neighbor, John Favara. This tragedy changed Victoria’s mother; she acted out against herself and others. John Gotti sent the whole family to Florida. Favara disappeared a few months later...
Victora told eonline.com, "What happened to John Favara is still a mystery… Do I feel bad about it? If I'm being honest, no. After Frankie's [passing], my mother was never the same… nothing was."
14 Victoria's Mother Raised Victoria And Her Siblings Alone
John Gotti’s wife, Victoria DiGiorgio was not a regular housewife. She was only 16 when she started seeing John Gotti. Smitten by love, the two lovebirds welcomed their daughter Angel in 1961 and got married in 1962. Nevertheless, as Gotti was in and out of regular society, Victoria DiGiorgio raised her children alone and struggled to keep the family together.
According to earnthenecklace.com, DiGiorgio knew her husband was on the wrong track but always stood behind him. Nevertheless, Victoria would often argue with her husband because she was furious when her son John Gotti Jr. got involved in his father’s business.
13 John Gotti Provided For His Family
John Gotti was one of the most powerful crime bosses across the U.S. He started as a protégé of the Gambino family, one of the five families that controlled organized crime in New York City. Tempted by power and money, Gotti attacked the Gambino boss and took over the family, becoming one of the most notorious and flamboyant mob leaders in the world.
Despite his secretive activities, court’s allegations, and questionable life, John Gotti - one of the most powerful Cosa Nostra Dons - claimed he was a loving father; a father who was simply trying to provide for his family.
12 Victoria's Parents Thought She Was Autistic
Growing up Gotti was not easy. As stated above, Victoria grew up in poverty and secrets. Although John Gotti kept his children in the dark, Victoria knew her father had an unusual job and suspected he was on the wrong track. She told eonline.com, "I was doubting things that were being told to me… I just grew quiet. I didn't speak… Things started to kind of add up and I grew, I think, more and more into myself."
In fact, she was the shiest of the Gottis and her parents even suspected she was autistic. Now, Victoria is a well-known writer and TV personality.
11 John Gotti's Parents Also Influenced Victoria's Life
We all know that family dynamics are complicated. Yet, the Gottis lived in a complete mess. Interestingly enough, John Gotti’s parents also influenced Victoria's future. John Gotti was born in Bronx, New York, in 1940; he was the fifth of 13 children. As John's father, John Joseph Gotti Sr., struggled to provide for his wife Philomena and 13 children, John Gotti resented his father for his aggressive behavior and inability to provide.
Consequently, John Gotti devoted himself to the Mafia; he and four of his brothers became made men or fully initiated members of La Cosa Nostra. John Gotti became one of the most powerful mobsters in the U.S.
10 Moving To Howard Beach
Just like her father, Victoria was raised in poverty. When John Gotti rose through the ranks, he moved his family to Howard Beach, New York. It’s believed that John Gotti made more than $10 million during his first year as head of the Gambino family.
However, life was not easy. Victoria told eonline.com, "For my siblings and me, moving to Howard Beach was like moving to Beverly Hills. Our modest, four-bedroom home seemed like a mansion. It was clear that we had left poverty behind… A nicer neighborhood didn't mean an easier life… Mom was left cleaning up the mess."
9 Victoria Gotti Was A Devoted Student
Because of her unusual childhood, Victoria Gotti grew quiet and shy; her books were her shelter. According to biography.com, she was a great student and skipped two grades in high school, entering St. Johns University at the age of 15. No surprise Victoria became a well-known writer and reality TV personality. In fact, Victoria Gotti is one of the few mob daughters who managed to stay away from La Cosa Nostra.
In her 2009 memoir This Family of Mine: What It Was Like Growing Up Gotti,Victoria talks about her family life and infamous father, as well as her chaotic childhood and harsh upbringing.
8 Victoria Was Diagnosed With Mitral Valve Prolapse At The Age Of 15
Victoria Gotti was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse at the age of 15. Mitral valve prolapse is a serious heart condition which causes dizziness and palpitations. According to biography.com, Gotti had to take regular medication and even wear a heart monitor. Thus, John Gotti, the most notorious modern-day Godfather, and his wife had to make sure Victoria was kept in the dark to prevent additional stress and drama.
As Victoria Gotti said, "They put me together like the Bionic Woman. I have a defibrillator in me and all kinds of crazy wires that go through my shoulder and my chest."
7 Growing Up Gotti Was A Mixed Bag
There’s no doubt that Victoria Gotti is a successful businesswoman. She admits, however, that being Gotti is not easy as people often hold her accountable for her father’s business.
In fact, for Victoria, growing up Gotti was a mixed bag. She told eonline.com, "Being John Gotti's daughter was a mixed bag and anger towards my father started to fester. It only grew over the next few years. Don't get me wrong. Being John Gotti's daughter had perks that most people would relish. Me? I just wanted to be normal." Victoria Gotti’s desire to be normal shaped her professional future and unhappy marriage with Carmine Agnello.
6 John Gotti Disliked Victoria's Sweetheart Carmine Agnello
Talking about Victoria’s love life, we should mention that John Gotti insisted on screening her boyfriends. Fed up with her controlling father, young Victoria Gotti fell in love with Carmino Agnello. When Carmino Agnello entered Victoria’s life, she was smitten by his courage and temper. According to eonlince.com, Carmino wasn’t afraid of John Gotti, something that fueled Victoria’s interest.
In 1984, Carmino and Victoria got married. Although John Gotti didn’t approve of their marriage, the Teflon Don arranged for Carmino to become a member of the Gambino family. Years later, Carmino was sentenced for racketeering. In 2003, Carmino and Victoria divorced.
5 Vicki Kept Some Things Private
Victoria Gotti married her first boyfriend, Carmino, but as her father predicted, her marriage was a mistake. Victoria recalls her father’s words, "Vicki, you still don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. We could call the whole thing off and change [it] into an elaborate Christmas party. We could go home and you could change into something more appropriate and we could just have fun tonight."
According to nypost.com, Angelo was paranoid and didn't act correctly toward Victoria but she was scared to tell her father. In addition, Carmino's infidelities made their marriage a mess. The two divorced in 2003.
4 Building A Family
Victoria, John Gotti’s daughter, is one of the few mob daughters who worked really hard to succeed in life. After her divorce, Victoria’s was cut off from Carmino’s income but was too proud to ask for money. So she simply found a job.
Victoria told ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com, "Let me tell you something, the secret that nobody else knows, I lasted in this house on my own with no money in the bank for about six months… The cars were gone. I was selling anything I had… We went two weeks without gas, electric or [heated] water, but I was so determined that I was not going to my mother, I was not going to my father."
3 Loss And Grief
Victoria has three children; Carmine, Gotti Agnello, John Gotti Agnello, and Frank Gotti Agnello. However, Victoria still remembers the daughter she carried, Justine. She told eonline.com, "You know, when you bury a child, a daughter, it's so hard. It's just so hard… You never forget it. Every May, I celebrate her birthday. You always think God has this plan…Everybody's always under the guise that, you know, time heals all wounds."
To help her recover, Carmine took Victoria on a holiday and she returned pregnant. It was then when Victoria Gotti made a major change and dyed her long hair blonde.
2 Love Of Publicity
Although Victoria Gotti craved for a normal life as a kid, she became well-known worldwide. In fact, as Victoria is not afraid to reveal the secrets of her childhood, her memoirs became bestsellers. What’s more, in 2004, Victoria Gotti and her sons became the stars of the popular reality show Growing Up Gotti, filmed in their mansion on Long Island. According to biography.com, her three boys became celeb heartthrobs.
In 2018, the controversial biographical crime drama movie Gotti was finally released, and in 2019, Lifetime aired the intriguing documentary Victoria Gotti: My Father's Daughter.
1 Victoria Loved Her Dad
Despite her tough childhood and controversial life, Victoria Gotti loved her father. John Gotti - one of the most dangerous modern-day Godfathers - was just a man who was trying to provide for his family. In 1992, the Teflon Don who made money from racketeering, trafficking, and gambling was sentenced for life. It was his Salvatore Gravano, Gotti's underboss, who helped bring down John Gotti.
Victoria denied all court’s allegations; according to biography.com, she even said, "They don't make men like him anymore and they never will." John Gotti died in 2002, not as a free man. The love Victoria holds for her father, though, is still alive in her heart.
Sources: biography.com, eonline.com, nypost.com.