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French first lady hits back at rumours on past love life

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-10-11

Valérie Trierweiler, the partner of France’s Socialist President François Hollande, is suing the authors of a new book that alleges she once had an affair with a prominent right-wing politician.


New rumours are swirling about the French first lady’s private life, and she is preparing a counterattack.

Valérie Trierweiler, the partner of French President François Hollande, will sue the authors of a new book about her, her lawyers have said.

The 47-year-old journalist alleges that the book, a biography called “La Frondeuse” (The Rebel) set to be published Thursday, constitutes a breach of privacy.

Among the hot topics covered in the biography is Trierweiler’s supposed affair with Patrick Devedjian, a prominent right-wing politician and one-time ally of former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The book also explores the reported animosity between Trierweiler and Hollande’s ex-partner -- and former Socialist presidential candidate -- Ségolène Royal, who is mother of the president’s four children.

“La Frondeuse”, written by journalists Christophe Jakubyszyn and Alix Bouilhaguet, is just the latest in a slew of exposés on Trierweiler that have hit French bookshelves since Hollande’s election in May.

‘Malicious rumours’ or ‘honest investigation’?

In an interview with popular French magazine Point de Vue, the authors said that several years ago, Trierweiler and Devedjian had an affair while both were married to other people. In their account, Trierweiler began a relationship with Hollande when Devedjian, a leader in the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, balked at leaving his wife for her.

The authors claim that as she grew closer to Hollande, Trierweiler pulled away from Devedjian, “who suffered considerably in the break-up”.

Despite their political differences and rivalry over the same woman, Jakubyszyn and Bouilhaguet insisted, Hollande and Devedjian maintained a relationship of great mutual respect.

Trierweiler’s lawyer has characterised these claims as “malicious and unfounded rumours”.

The book also delves into more thoroughly documented territory, like the controversy surrounding a message on Trierweiler’s Twitter account that seemed to endorse Ségolène Royal’s rival in the French legislative elections last June. Though Trierweiler apologised, the press pounced, portraying her as a troublemaking diva who was proving to be a distraction for a newly inaugurated president.

Author Alix Bouilhaguet took to French TV this week to defend her book as an “honest investigation…into the ambiguity that exists between [French] political class and the reporters that cover them”.

Several other big-name French politicians, including current Hollande cabinet member Arnaud Montebourg, Sarkozy’s former foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, centrist leader Jean-Louis Borloo, and disgraced Socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn, are or have been married to top female journalists. 

Date created : 2012-10-11

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