The inspiration behind the mysterious billionaire business man Christian Grey, is an Italian real estate agent?

Alessandro Proto, who has reportedly brokered homes in his home nation to Hollywood's elite actors, is believed to be E L James' inspiration for the titular role in the erotic novel 'Fifty Shades of Grey'.

The 39 year-old met the British author back in 2010 when James was travelling around Italy while writing a piece on global celebrities buying properties in the country.

Proto claims there are several key similarities between the book's character and his own life during the time he spent with James.

"The firm Grey runs in the book is called Grey Enterprise Holding. Mine is called Proto Organization Holding," he told New York Daily News.

"When I met E.L. James I used to drive a R8 Audi," Proto continued, referring to Grey owning an Audi R8 Spyder.

The businessman also believes his top floor office was utilized in the best-selling novel.

"My office is located at the 8th floor. It is the highest in the building. I came from nothing, so I see top floors as a metaphor for achievement and success," he adds. "Everyone knows he made it, but nobody knows how he reached success. Same with me."

Proto also draws similarities in the character's shyness as he is very reserved when it comes to the media aspect of things.

"Christian Grey doesn't like speaking to reporters, so he builds up a mystery that surrounds him," he said.

But that is where their likeness ends, Grey's character is most well-known for one thing, his obsession with practising S&M.

"Everything that has to do with S&M is pure imagination, I assure you. I'm an old fashioned man when it comes to sex, I'm not into that kind of fantasies," he states.

Ah well, it looks like fans will just have to hope Jamie Dornan, the actor who is portraying Grey in the film adaptation, is able to execute a convincing performance.

Jamie Dornan
Dornan is playing Christian Grey in the movie adaptation