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France’s former first lady lifts lid on 'cold' President Hollande

Thomas Samson, AFP | France's former first lady Valérie Trierweiler

Seven months after President François Hollande’s scandalous breakup with Valérie Trierweiler made headlines around the world, France’s former first lady reveals her side of the story in a tell-all book expected to hit bookstores on Thursday.

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Trierweiler, 49, claims that her relationship with Hollande was unraveling even before a tabloid revealed in January that the president was having an affair with film actress Julie Gayet, according to high-end weekly magazine Paris Match which published excerpts from her new book Wednesday.

“I felt as if François no longer wanted me to be part of his political life. I was in love with a man who I could feel slipping away from me. My world was turned upside down,” she recounts in the memoir ironically titled, “Thank You For This Moment.”

French glossy Paris Match, which still employs Trierweiler as a journalist, published passages Wednesday that paint an unbecoming portrait of an indifferent and hard-hearted Hollande.

'I gave him legitimacy'

“He was cold. He stopped smiling. I gave him legitimacy, but I was worth nothing,” she remembers from the period when Hollande closed in on the presidency in 2012.

In the 320-page memoir, which Trierweiler and her publisher kept top secret from the Elysée Palace, the former first lady admits to intense jealousy. She also recounts the heartbreak she felt on discovering her partner of nine years was cheating on her.

“I lost it. I couldn’t bear it… I grabbed a small plastic bag with sleeping pills,” she writes candidly of discovering, along with the rest of the world courtesy of the media, about Hollande’s affair with Gayet.

Of the night when she discovered the truth, Trierweiler writes, “François chased after me and tried to grab the sleeping pills. I ran into the bedroom. He got hold of the bag of sleeping pills, and it ripped. The pills scattered all over the floor and the bed, but I was able to grab a few. I swallowed what I could. I just wanted to sleep, I didn’t want to live through the hours that I know would follow.”

Trierweiler makes it clear that this was not a suicide attempt, but just a desire to sleep after the trauma.

However, a day after the tabloid Closer broke the story of Hollande’s affair with Gayet, it was widely reported in the French media that Trierweiler was admitted to hospital.

The former first lady does confess that the breakup was, “the worst moment of my life.”

“We won’t be able to make this work,” she claims Hollande harshly replied in the immediate aftermath as she fought to save their near decade-long relationship. “You’ll never be able to forgive me.”

Hollande 'tried to win her back'

The book does not just focus on the couple’s painful split, for Trierweiler also writes of the ex-couple’s “fairytale years".

Hollande and Trierweiler met in the mid-2000s when she was writing a profile for the same Paris Match magazine about him and his then partner Ségolène Royal – herself a former presidential candidate. Shortly after, she began having an affair with him although the high-profile political power couple were still together.

Trierweiler’s brutal account of Hollande’s behaviour could further damage the image of the president, whose popularity among voters has already sunk to historic lows.

Trierweiler claims that in the months following their highly publicised split, Hollande did try to win her back and harassed her with dozens of text messages daily.

One day she found flowers from him in her hotel room, a private place that she claims never to have told him about.

“Was I the last whim of a man who can’t stand losing? Trierweiler asks in Paris Match, questioning whether she ever really knew the president of France at all.


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