At Eurovision 2006 she served traditional music and staging, putting Croatia’s folk scene front and centre with a big smile to boot.
But in recent months Severina has faced far more difficult proceedings as she and her former fiancé Milan Popovic battle for custody of their 5-year old son Aleksandar.
Severina and Milan — the millionaire and self-proclaimed “king of copper” from Belgrade — began dating in late 2010. Soon after the couple got engaged and welcomed their first and only child in February 2012.
Unfortunately their love story ended in 2013 owing to huge differences in character that resulted in irreconcilable differences. The Balkan media smelled drama — and drama they got.
Severina’s son Aleksandar seen with his stepfather Igor
Severina threw herself into work after the split, adopting a new musical style and releasing song after song (including one of our personal favourites “Silicone”). Her troubled relationship with her aforementioned ex inspired much of her music. Miss Vuckovic soon married Igor Kojic — a famous football goalkeeper and the son of a Serbian folk legend. As her ex launched custody proceedings, Severina’s new man — 15 years her junior — gave her hope of a better tomorrow.
Unfortunately better days never came. This April a judge took the unexpected decision to force shared custody of young Aleksandar, preventing Severina from seeing her first born for a full 200 days of the year. It was a sudden and jarring new reality for the Split-based songstress, who previously had sole custody of her son.
According to Severina, Milan could visit Aleksandar in Split whenever he liked. But at one point he stopped visiting for 18 months, allegedly claiming that a child doesn’t need his or her father during its earliest days.
The judge’s decision has become a major talking point in Balkan media, with many outlets coming out in support of the “Moja Stikla” singer. In June she decided to end her silence and tell the world her side of the story via RTL’s daily show RTL Direkt. Speaking to Zoran Sprajc — TV personality of the year — Severina touched on her feud, her ex and more.
We’ve transcribed the most important passages below.
How the feud started
When I finally decided to leave that relationship forever, people explained to me that it was verbally abusive. But I’m not the kind of person prone to such suffering. Then he told me that he was going to make my life difficult, that he would hire a spokesperson and talk about me. I was thinking he’s just mad, but ‘the dot on letter i’ was when he told me he would take my son from me and, had we been in USA, he would have trampled me.
Milan’s questionable parenting
I have to say something about parenting. In order to be a successful parent you firstly need to be a good person. While were speaking of parenting, I have to admit that until Aleksandar’s third year, Milan Popovic didn’t visit him for a total of 18 months. He even admitted to the court that in his own child’s first year he refused to visit him for six and a half months, thinking that the man is not important in a child’s first year. Speaking of shared parenting and not participating in it are two different pairs of sleeves.
Severina also admitted to the long-running rumour that she had become pregnant after undergoing artificial insemination. However, her excessive exposure to stress led the couple to lose their child, which left her devastated.
Severina isn’t the only victim here: the hitmaker’s good friend Nina Kuluz also experienced the cruelty of the Croatian courts after a judge granted custody of her son to her ex — a well-known businessman Alessandro Avenati from Italy. The child cannot speak Italian.
Ana Rucner launches #IjaSamMama
That’s why mothers across the Balkans, led by Ana Rucner, one-fourth of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Eurovision 2016 act, have decided to form a Facebook group for all mums in support of Severina and those who face similar injustice.
The group – appropriatelly named #IjaSamMama (I’m a Mother Too) – immediately earned the approval of Croatian celebrities – among them Feminnem’s Eurovision 2010 lineup of Neda Parmac, Nika Antolos and Pamela Ramljak.
And not just them. The Facebook group has over 14,000 followers so far. If you’re a Balkan mum reading this (while secretly admiring Severina’s badass moves at Eurovision 2006), you should join the group by visiting the Facebook group HERE.
Covering a touching ballad from Serbian singer Dorde Balasevic, Severina thanked her fans for their endless support.
Dear mothers and fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, brothers and sisters, and all the good people who have volunteered to be included in this story, I would like to thank you for your unconditional support and love. Thanks for these wonderful photos. Thanks to my beloved Dorde Balaševic for this song. I’m not Severina, I’m just mom.
Milan Popovic has reportedly denied Severina’s accusations, accusing her of putting pressure on the judge, the court and little Aleksandar.
Photo credit: #ijasammajka, Vjekoslava Bach