Pope's 'childhood sweetheart' reveals why the pair split

Amalia Damonte, who claims to have been Pope Francis' childhood sweetheart, appeared on Argentinian TV yesterday. Photo: C5N

A woman who claims she was once the girlfriend of Pope Francis has said the pair broke up because he wanted to become a priest.

Amalia Damonte, now 76, who grew up in the same area of Buenos Aires as Jorge Bergoglio, said she was shocked when she found out he had become Pope.

"I froze in front of the television. I couldn't believe that Jorge was the Pope," she told reporters.

Damonte said the pair were childhood sweethearts.

"We were 12, 13 years old. No more than that," she said. "He was wonderful. He was a proper guy."

But their relationship caused trouble with Damonte's parents after Bergoglio started sending her letters: "There was only one letter and it cost me a smack in the face from my father," she said.

"It said we were going to get married and I am going to buy you a white house. So the two of us could live together."

So why weren't they married, reporters probed: "He told me, if we don't get married, I'll become a priest," she replied.