France's scorned first lady threatens tell-all book

30th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

France's former first lady Valerie Trierweiler has revealed that she is considering writing a book about her time with President Francois Hollande.

In interviews that would have set alarm bells ringing at the Elysee Palace, former journalist Trierweiler made it clear Friday she had been hurt by the curt manner in which Hollande announced the end of their relationship and said she had not ruled out writing about her time with the Socialist leader.

Trierweiler, 48, is well-qualified for the task of producing a work that would be expected to lift the lid on intrigue and back-stabbing at the top of the the French state.

She is a career journalist who met Hollande while working as a political reporter for Paris Match. The glossy weekly continued to employ her as a literary columnist after Hollande's 2012 election victory and her elevation to the quasi-official first lady role.

In interviews with Paris Match and the weekend magazine of the Le Parisien tabloid, Trierweiler claims she was taken by surprise by the revelation that Hollande, 59, had been having an affair with actress Julie Gayet, 41.

"I heard rumours of course but you hear rumours about everyone," she told her employer. "I hear them about myself all the time. I paid no attention. When I found out, it was as if I had fallen from a sky-scraper."

Trierweiler was hospitalised for a week in the aftermath of the revelation by Closer magazine. Hollande finally announced their relationship was over in a telephone statement to AFP last Saturday.

Hollande's announcement consisted of one 18-word sentence, in which he expressed no regret or remorse over the end of his relationship with a woman he had described as "the love of my life" in 2010.

'You need two people to fall in love but only one to break up'

Although Trierweiler insisted she remained on good terms with Hollande, the abrupt end to their relationship has clearly left scars which may yet return to haunt the president.

"Eighteen words is almost one word for each month we spent together since he was elected," she observed to Le Parisien, describing herself as "more disappointed than hurt".

She also made it clear that splitting had never been on her agenda. "You need two people to fall in love but only one to break up," she said.

Perhaps most worryingly for Hollande, Trierweiler also made it clear that she harbours deep resentment over the way officials at the Elysee regularly briefed against her, which she feels contributes to the low opinion many ordinary people have of her.

She described the presidential milieu as "a world where betrayal pays" and claimed she and Hollande may have survived as a couple if he had not been elected.

"We didn't react to power in the same way," she said. "Something broke. I would have preferred a normal life. We might then still be together."

According to Closer's account of events, Hollande and Trierweiler's relationship was on the rocks long before his 2012 election victory.

The magazine which revealed the president's secret trysts with Gayet at a flat just yards from the Elysee reported that the relationship with the actress started early in his campaign.

As well as considering a memoir, Trierweiler intends to continue the charity work she embraced during her time as first lady and which took her to India this week.

During that trip she ruled out a return to political journalism, saying it would be "too complicated" with her ex still in power.

Unusually for France, Hollande's political rivals have attempted to take advantage of the turmoil in his private life with several prominent figures echoing Trierweiler's criticism of the cold manner in which he announced the end of the relationship.

It remains unclear, meanwhile, whether Hollande and Gayet plan to continue their liason.


© 2014 AFP

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