Elisabetta Canalis: I Had a 'Father-Daughter Relationship' with George Clooney
10/29/2011 AT 12:15 PM EDT
Elisabetta Canalis, the Italian TV personality who dated George Clooney for two years until their split last June, offers some surprising details about their relationship in Questo Amore (This Love), a new book by Italian journalist Bruno Vespa.
Praising the Oscar winner, 50, as "the person who valued my feminine side the most" and "also one of the best people I have met from a charitable point of view," Canalis, 33, went on to say, "he has been a special for me, and very important, just as a father would be."
Asked by Vespa to elaborate, she said, "between us there was more of a father-daughter relationship. I was unable to clarify this up 'til now."
As for their breakup, Canalis – who competed on Dancing with the Stars earlier this season, denies reports that Clooney's long-held aversion to marriage was an issue.
"George and I never spoke of marriage nor of having kids," she says. "I don't put limits to the possibility of having them, but neither George nor I had ever envisaged having kids together. The end of the relationship was not caused by a marriage issue, but instead by our personal needs."
Although Clooney has since moved on with another Dancing alum, Stacy Keibler, Canalis has only kind words for him.
"George is a real gentleman even in his private life," she says. "I was very much respected both as a woman and partner."
Reporting by PRAXILLA TRABATONNI