THE former first lady of France has broken her silence over her split from adulterous president Francois Hollande, saying he ended their relationship in just 18 words and that learning of his affair was like falling “from a skyscraper”.
Valerie Trierweiler, who blamed her former partner’s behaviour on his “rise to power”, also threatened to pen a book revealing the inside story of the break-up.
But she admitted she was left “more disappointed than angry” by his affair with Julie Gayet, an actress 19 years his junior.
Ms Trierweiler, 48, spent a week in hospital after being admitted in a state of shock when a French tabloid magazine broke news of the affair three weeks ago.
In a series of interviews with French newspaper Le Parisien and the weekly magazine Paris-Match, she said the couple had grown apart recently, but admitted she was still caught by surprise after news of his affair made headlines worldwide.
She was critical of the brief 18-word public statement issued by Mr Hollande, 59, announcing the end of their relationship at the weekend.
It translated as: “I am making it known that I have ended my shared life with Valerie Trierweiler.”
She told the daily newspaper: “I am more disappointed than angry, but I do not rule out writing a book.
“Eighteen words [in the original statement in French], that’s almost one for every month we spent together since his election. It takes two people to be in love, but only one to end it.”
Ms Trierweiler met Mr Hollande in 1988 when she was a journalist and he was a Socialist Party MP with a long-term partner, Segolene Royal. Although they both went on to raise families with separate partners, they became a couple in November 2007.
Reflecting on the story that told of Mr Hollande’s relationship with Ms Gayet, Ms Trierweiler told Paris-Match: “I heard rumours, of course, but you hear rumours about everyone. 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 skyscraper.”
After her release from hospital, Ms Trierweiler went on a charity trip to India, from where she replied to text messages sent by Mr Hollande.
“He was worried about the organisation of the trip and about my health,” she explained, before telling how the foreign visit had helped her to come to terms with what had happened. She told Le Parisien: “India was a return to freedom, far from the world of politics and its treachery. I stand up for what I am and what I say. No-one can say I didn’t do anything worthwhile in 19 months.”
She added: “A moment came when there was no life left. We didn’t deal with power in the same way. It broke something.
“I would have preferred a normal life, and perhaps then we would have still been together today. I know who I am, I can look at myself in the mirror. I am free.
“I don’t think I’m anything special. I want to start living a normal life as soon as possible and don’t want to be like these people and never will.”
Ms Trierweiler also said this week that her greatest regret as first lady was writing a tweet backing the rival of Ms Royal for a seat in parliament.
Ms Royal, the mother of Hollande’s four children, branded Ms Trierweiler a “traitor” for the Twitter update and accused her of trying to wreck her career. Ms Trierweiler said: “In retrospect, I should not have done that.”
She said she now intended to give up her former career as a political journalist and become a humanitarian campaigner, and hoped the media would leave her in peace.
She explained: “I want to take my time and I’m looking forward to being in charge of my own life. The interest will die down and my normal life will come back. Once they’ve seen me two or three times shopping, I think the paparazzi will stop.”