He ended their love affair with a terse 18-word statement, and she fought back by publishing a 320-page tell-all book.
A memoir by France’s former first lady Valerie Trierweiler that spills the beans on her tumultuous relationship with President Francois Hollande has become the best-selling book on Amazon France in just one day. The book, entitled “Merci Pour Ce Moment” or “Thank You For This Moment”, went on sale on Thursday and quickly overtook the hugely popular erotic novel "Fifty Shades Of Grey" on Amazon France.
Mr Hollande split up with Ms Trierweiler, 49, after his affair with 42-year-old actress Julie Gayet came to light. In an 18-word statement in January, the 60-year-old French leader announced his relationship was over with the glamourous journalist, whom he had once described as “the love of my life”.
It was a bitter ending for Ms Trierweiler, who got together with Mr Hollande while he was in a relationship with Ms Segolene Royal – herself a former presidential candidate – and the pair began a secret liaison. Mr Hollande subsequently left Ms Royal, the mother of his four children, for Ms Trierweiler, who became the de facto first lady of France after he was elected in 2012 despite the fact the pair were not married.
The no-holds-barred account, packed with lurid details, was written in utmost secrecy and printed in Germany to avoid any leaks. Mr Hollande was reportedly unaware that she was planning such a book.
It has caused a stir in France because it is the first time that a sitting French president has been the object of a “kiss-and-tell” book. Some have dubbed the book "Rottweiler's Revenge" after Ms Trierweiler, nicknamed "Rotteweiler" because of the way she savages her enemies.
We look at some extracts from the memoir:
On how she was kept in the dark about Mr Hollande’s affair with Ms Gayet:
“We had planned on marrying before Christmas in a very small ceremony in Tulle. He took back the proposal a month before. Julie Gayet was already in his life, but I didn’t know about it.”
On how he lied brazenly to her when confronted with rumours of the affair:
"I asked him, 'Swear on my son's head that it's not true and I will not speak of it again'. He swore, saying it was 'a load of nonsense'."
On how she broke down in the presidential bedroom when news broke of the affair:
“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. 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.”
On how Mr Hollande became “de-humanised” as he got closer to the reins of power:
‘He’s cold, he doesn’t smile. I’m his stooge, but I have no value.’
On how he tried to woo her back after the split:
"He said he needed me. Each evening he asked me to have dinner with him. He said he wanted to get me back whatever the price. He said he would win me back as if I was an election."
She wrote that Mr Hollande bombarded her with text messages, "up to 29 in one day", even finding time between a meeting with US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin to send her "passionate messages".
On how Mr Hollande – France’s first Socialist president in nearly two decades – secretly despised the poor:
“He likes to come across as a man who doesn’t like the rich. In reality, the president doesn’t like the poor. This the man of the Left, calls them in private ‘the toothless’, very proud of his brand of humour.”
On her 20-month reign as first lady:"Everything I have written is true. At the Elysée I sometimes felt as if I was on a reporting assignment. I've suffered too much from lies to use them myself."
Source: AFP, REUTERS