PARIS (AFP) - France's former first lady Valerie Trierweiler was roundly attacked Thursday for her kiss-and-tell book about her acrimonious split with President Francois Hollande after his affair with an actress.
The surprise memoir, which hit bookstands on Thursday and in which she recounts her stormy relationship with Hollande, was described as "outrageous" by Prime Minister Manuel Valls and a "dishonour for France" by right-wing leader Marine Le Pen, usually a trenchant critic of Hollande.
Hollande's previous partner Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children whom he left for Trierweiler, also shot down as "rubbish" the book's claim that Hollande - who became France's first Socialist president in nearly two decades when he was elected 2012 - secretly despised the poor.
In the book, entitled "Thank You For The Moment", Trierweiler says she tried to commit suicide in the presidential bedroom with an overdose of sleeping pills after news of Hollande's affair with actress Julie Gayet broke in January.
She also questioned the Socialist credentials of Hollande - who famously said he did "not like the rich" - by claiming that he referred to the have-nots as "the toothless" in private.
Royal, speaking on BFMTV early Thursday, repeated several times that she would not comment on questions of a personal nature but reacted when pressed by the interviewer on Hollande's alleged contempt for the poor.
"It's rubbish, it's the exact opposite of the political commitment of a great leader of the left," she said.
"Do you think it's true?" Royal shot back to the interviewer. "Can you think it is true about a politician you have known for years...?" "One must judge politicians by their acts," she said, adding that Hollande had a proven record of working for the uplift of the poor in his past.
Trierweiler, now 49, got together with Hollande in 2005 while he was in a relationship with Royal - herself a former presidential candidate - and the pair began a secret liaison.
The glamourous journalist was unpopular with the public and earned the unflattering public moniker of "Rottweiler".
Le Pen, the leader of the right-wing National Front which is rapidly gaining electoral ground in France, said Trierweiler's book was a "profoundly indecent settling of scores" and a form of "vengeance". The memoir, which was written in the utmost secrecy and extracts of which were published Wednesday by glossy magazine Paris-Match and daily Le Monde on Wednesday, has a first print run of 200,000.
But this is unlikely to be enough, as it has already become the best-selling book on Amazon France, shooting to the website's number one spot in just one day and overtaking the hugely popular erotic novel "Fifty Shades Of Grey".