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France

Sarkozy’s ex-wife sparks frenzy with 2012 'novel'

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Text by Sophie PILGRIM

Latest update : 2011-06-16

Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife, Cécilia Attias, announced Monday that she will be publishing an autobiographical novel in 2012, a day after speaking candidly about her former husband for the first time in four years. Are more revelations to come?

France’s celebrity gossip journalists have been rubbing their hands together in anticipation this week after Nicolas Sarkozy’s former wife opened up about life with the president, quickly followed by the news that she was planning to publish an autobiographical novel next year.

Weekly magazine Voici marvelled that 2012 was not only the year of the French presidential election and the end of the world (according to the Mayas), but also the year that Cécilia Attias would “finally break her silence and dish the dirt on Sarkozy!”
 
The buzz was sparked by the “revelation” from Attias during a TV debate on Sunday evening that women used to throw themselves at Sarkozy even when she was there. “I saw women giving him their phone numbers even when I was next to him,” she told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour during a debate on gender and power on the network’s This Week show
 
The next day, French political website Atlantico.fr announced that Attias would be publishing a book, albeit fictional, but “largely inspired by the former first lady’s rich and busy life”.
 
It would be hard for her to avoid mentioning Sarkozy – they were together for over 20 years. Only in 2007 did she break away from her allegedly hot-tempered husband, to run away with her lover, businessman Richard Attias, who she later married.
 
Untold secrets a threat to Sarkozy?
 
By choosing to turn her life story into a novel rather than doing a straight-up autobiography, gossip-mongers were convinced that Attias was harbouring some juicy secrets. “This is a strategy used by authors who want to muddy the waters,” explained Elodie Mandel on celebrity news website Plurielles.fr: “They pick the ‘novel’ genre and change some of the names and situations concerned, in order to safeguard themselves against censorship.” But the biggest clincher of all was that the book was planned for 2012 – the same year as France’s presidential election, in which Sarkozy hopes to secure a second term in power.
 
“The timing is certainly no coincidence,” political analyst Jean-Yves Camus told FRANCE 24. “If the former wife of Sarkozy wants to publish a book about her life, then of course her publisher is going to want to sell it the year Sarkozy in running for re-election.”
 
Nonetheless, Camus said he didn’t believe Attias would publish anything overly damaging to Sarkozy. “She may want to hurt him, but she would never want to hurt the rightwing campaign – she’s always been a supporter of the right – and the two go together”.
 
‘A man who loves nobody but himself’
 
After the break-up of Sarkozy and Attias – the first-ever French presidential couple to divorce while in office – journalist Anna Cabana (née Bitton) wrote a book entitled "Cécilia", which portrayed Sarkozy as a tight-fisted and impulsive husband. She quoted Attias as saying, “he’s a man who loves nobody, not even his children”. In another book published a year later, it was revealed that Attias had filed a complaint to the police about Sarkozy after a vicious row.
 
Nonetheless, the pair (who have one grown child together) are believed to be on good terms. “The wife of any politician could have said he loved nobody but himself,” Christian Makarian, managing editor of political weekly L’Express told FRANCE 24. “That was not a revelation, and I doubt we’re going to see any in this book either.”
 
Makarian believes that Attias would have little to benefit from revealing secrets about Sarkozy. “The French people are sick and tired of hearing about Sarkozy’s private life. He showed too much of it at the start of his mandate,” he said. “Look at the announcement of Carla Bruni’s pregnancy – there was hardly any buzz at all.”
 
If the comments posted on Atlantico are anything to go by, then he’s spot on. “Seriously, who’s going to read this?” wrote "Simone" on Monday. “Except for a bit of gossip from ages ago, I can’t see what else this book is going to bring us.”

 

Date created : 2011-06-15

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