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Valerie to lift lid on French affair

31 January 2014, 08:22

Paris - Valerie Trierweiler has threatened to lift the lid on bed-hopping and back-stabbing at the top of the French state after being dumped by President Francois Hollande.

In interviews that would have set alarm bells ringing at the Elysee Palace, the former first lady made it clear on Friday she had been hurt by the curt manner in which Hollande ended their relationship.

She said she has not ruled out writing about her time with the Socialist leader, a decade-long love story that started and ended with the Socialist leader embroiled in illicit affairs.

Trierweiler is well-qualified for the task of producing a work that would be a guaranteed best-seller.

The glamorous 48-year-old is a career journalist who met Hollande and began a secret liason with him while working as a political reporter for Paris Match. He subsequently left the mother of his four children for her.

Match continued to employ Trierweiler as a literary columnist after Hollande's 2012 election victory and her elevation to the quasi-official first lady role.

In interviews with the glossy weekly and the weekend magazine of the Le Parisien tabloid, she 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 after Closer published pictures of Hollande arriving for secret trysts with Gayet at a borrowed flat.

Hollande finally announced the relationship was over on Saturday in an 18-word statement that was devoid of regret or remorse for the woman he had described as "the love of my life" in 2010.

Two thirds of French think manner of dumping was off

Although Trierweiler insisted she remained on good terms with Hollande, the abrupt end to their relationship after nearly a decade together 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.

Although she is almost as unpopular as Hollande with the French public, Trierweiler appears to have won sympathy over her treatment.

A poll to be published Friday by Closer found that nearly two thirds of voters (64 percent) thought Hollande 's manner of announcing the end of their relationship was off.

Perhaps most worryingly for Hollande, Trierweiler also signalled that she harbours deep resentment over the way officials at the Elysee regularly undermined 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.

Cold manner

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 is unclear what the current status of Hollande and Gayet's liason is but friends of the actress have said she harbours no ambition to be the next first lady while he has indicated he is happy to be a bachelor president for now.



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