Luciano Pavarotti, perhaps the world's most famous opera singer, is not as cuddly as his figure and million watt smile suggests.
According to former publicity manager and agent Herbert Breslin, Pavarotti, 68, is childish, self-obsessed, looks down upon his contemporaries and is disrespectful to his women.
The book King and I: The Uncensored Tale of Luciano Pavarotti's Rise to Fame by His Manager, Friend and Sometime Adversary, will be published in October.
Excerpts from the book were published in the Washington Post on Wednesday.
Breslin was Pavarotti's manager for 36 years until the pair had a falling out two years ago.
The manager writes that Pavarotti referred to longtime soprano stage partner Dame Joan Sutherland, as 'pretty dopey.'
He found the famous German soprano Elizabeth Schwarzkopf looking 'like a cleaning woman' when she was not in costume, and thought Placido Domingo, the Spanish tenor and his great rival with whom he sang at the World Cup in 1990 could never have 'had a voice like [Pavarotti] in his dreams.'
Breslin says the singer once described his soon-to-be second wife as 'the favourite in my harem.'
Once Pavarotti was so worried about his meals while touring China that he flew a complete restaurant across.
Breslin calls the book 'the story of a very beautiful, simple, lovely guy who turned into a very determined, aggressive and somewhat unhappy superstar.'
Pavarotti was a son of a baker, his mother worked in a cigar factory in a small city in northern Italy.
His major breakthrough came on February 17, 1972, in a production of Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment at New York's Metropolitan Opera, in which he drove the crowd into a frenzy with his nine effortless high Cs in the signature aria.
He will retire from singing in 2005.