Sarkozy hints at marriage with Bruni
President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday said his romance with Carla Bruni was "serious" and hinted that he was ready to marryPARIS, January 8, 2008 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday said
his romance with Carla Bruni was "serious" and hinted that he was ready to
marry the Italian former supermodel.
"There is a strong chance that you will learn about it once it's already
been done," Sarkozy told a packed New Year's press conference when asked about
reports that a wedding is planned next month.
"It is serious," he said of the romance, which has unleashed a media blitz
since the couple were first photographed in December visiting the Disneyland
theme park near Paris.
The 52-year-old president and Bruni -- an heiress whose past conquests
include rock stars Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton -- have since been trailed by
a swarm of paparazzi.
"Carla and I have decided not to lie," said the president, addressing some
600 French and foreign journalists at his first major news conference since
his election last May.
Three months after divorcing his second wife Cecilia, Sarkozy has been
under pressure to comment publicly on the romance amid signs that the
celebrity spotlight could be hurting his approval ratings.
Several polls since the New Year have shown Sarkozy slip three to four
points, while one showed a seven-point plunge in his confidence rating to 48
percent -- the lowest point since his election.
Dubbed "the Bling-Bling president" by left-wing critics, Sarkozy has been
accused of parading his romance in the media while neglecting the ppublic's
Elected on pledge to enact sweeping reforms, Sarkozy faces criticism that
he has been unable to kick-start the economy into higher gear.
The media blitz surrounding the Sarkozy-Bruni couple trailed them to Egypt
and Jordan, where Sarkozy was photographed last weekend carrying Bruni's young son Aurelien on his shoulders.
Bruni may also accompany Sarkozy on an official trip to India this month,
according to local media.
Sarkozy said he wanted to "break with a hateful tradition of hypocrisy",
making a clear allusion to President Francois Mitterrand's illegitimate
daughter, whose existence was kept secret by the press for years.
He flatly denied using his relationship with Bruni for political ends, and
shot back at critics over the exposure of his private life.
"In 2007, I went through a divorce. It wasn't the happiest time of my life.
It was said I divorced to divert attention from strikes over the special
pension regimes. Anyone who writes that has obviously never been through a
divorce," he said.
"We didn't want to exploit anything, but we did not want to hide either,"
Sarkozy said of his romance with Bruni, adding: "I never gave instructions to
any media to follow me around."
Education Minister Xavier Darcos defended Sarkozy's romance, saying: "I
believe that a happy president, and I was about to say a president in love, is
a president that has without a doubt more of a bounce in his step and will be
more energetic and efficient in fulfilling his duties."
In October, Sarkozy became the first French president to divorce while in
office when he ended his stormy 11-year marriage to Cecilia, with whom he has
a 10-year-old son, Louis.
He also has two sons, Pierre, 22, and Jean, 21, from a previous marriage to
Marie-Dominique Culioli, whose uncle was mayor of the well-heeled Paris suburb
of Neuilly -- a job Sarkozy went on to hold for close to 20 years.
Born into a wealthy Turin industrial family, Bruni made a second fortune in
modelling and music, becoming one of the world's best paid models at the
height of her catwalk career.
She had a surprise hit with the release of her first pop album "Quelqu'un
M'a Dit" (Someone Told Me) in 2004.
Observers have pointed out that with her long legs, high cheekbones and
chestnut-brown hair, Bruni bears a striking resemblance to Cecilia Sarkozy.
"Men are often drawn to the same type of butterfly," Sarkozy's biographer,
Catherine Nay, has been quoted as saying.
But Bruni, who has a six-year-old son with a French philosopher, places
herself firmly on the political left, making her an unlikely match for the
right-wing reformer Sarkozy.
Bruni has also been quoted saying she does not believe in monogamy.
"I am faithful... to myself! Monogamy bores me terribly," she told Le
Figaro Madame magazine last year.