PARIS: French former first lady Valerie Trierweiler has pulled no punches in a surprise tell-all book about her nine years with President Francois Hollande and their bitter split following revelations of his affair with an actress.
Trierweiler portrays Hollande, who is called Flanby after a wobbly looking French dessert by critics who accuse him of being a ditherer, as unfeeling, power-hungry and contemptuous of the poor. “His silences and his acerbic remarks led me to gradually lose confidence in myself,” she writes in the 320-page memoir that went on sale yesterday and was lapped up at bookstores and on Amazon.
She recalls an incident before a state dinner, when he asked her whether it takes her a long time to be “beautiful”, to which she responds in the affirmative.
“At the same time, no one asks anything else of you,” she quotes the president telling her.
The 49-year-old brings up another episode, when a voter is caught on camera asking Hollande not to marry the journalist, who is deeply unpopular with the French, and he just bursts out laughing.
Wounded by his attitude, Trierweiler says she tried to leave him once but that only lasted three weeks as she was “addicted to him.”
She also does not hide the jealousy between her and now Environment Minister Segolene Royal, the woman Hollande left to set up house with Trierweiler.
She recalls having dinner at a restaurant when Royal unexpectedly shows up. “Francois and I are talking, we are laughing. Suddenly I see Segolene Royal entering the restaurant, walking towards us. Francois’s back is turned, he does not see her. “I warn him and he thinks it is a joke until she sits down at our table. She is cold and tells us she hopes she is not disturbing us. Francois seems completely unable to speak so I answer ‘we were talking about the Tour de France’. Segolene responds by saying ‘stop bullshitting me’!”
The most sensational parts of the book predictably revolve around their bust-up in the presidential bedroom in January after a French glossy broke the news of Hollande’s night trysts with actress Julie Gayet. “I crack up. I don’t want to hear that, I rush into the bathroom. I grab the little plastic bag with the sleeping pills,” she recounts. “Francois follows me. He tries to snatch the bag... The pills spill over the bed and on the ground... I swallow what I can. I want to sleep. I don’t want to live through the coming hours... I lost consciousness.”