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Trierweiler: 'Hollande wanted me back'

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Trierweiler: 'Hollande wanted me back'
Valérie Trierweiler says Hollande was desperate to get her back. Photo: AFP
08:34 CEST+02:00
Extracts of a new tell-all book by President François Hollande's ex-partner Valérie Trierweiler were published on Wednesday in which the ex-"first-lady" describes the moment she "cracked" on hearing of his affair with an actress and how the president tried to get her back.

Trierweiler is to release a book on Thursday titled 'Thank you for this moment' (Merci pour le moment), a memoire on her 20-month stint as the unofficial first lady of France.

The book, written in secret, spills the beans on their relationship and their painful break-up in January. It will no doubt be uncomfortable reading for Hollande with one reviewer claiming the president "is not spared".

Extracts of the book, which is set to cause waves around French political circles and stir up more trouble for Hollande, were published on Wednesday in Paris Match – the glossy magazine that Trierweiler works for.

Trierweiler, 49, describes the moment she cracked, when news of Hollande’s affair with actress Julie Gayet was all over the front pages on January 9th.

"The news is the top story of the morning. I cracked, I couldn’t listen to that," she writes. "I ran into the bathroom and took a little plastic bag containing some pills. François followed me. He tried to snatch my bag, but I ran into the bedroom.

“He grabbed the bag and it split. Pills were scattered over the bed and on the floor. I managed to recover what I needed and swallowed what I could. I just wanted to sleep. I did not want to go  through the hours that were ahead.

“I felt the storm break on me. And I did not have the strength to resist. I wanted to flee, I passed out,” writes Trierweiler.

The glamorous journalist met Hollande in the mid-2000s while he was in a relationship with Segolene Royal - herself a former presidential candidate - and the pair began a secret liaison.

Hollande subsequently left Royal, the mother of his four children, for Trierweiler who became the de facto first lady of France after he was elected in 2012, despite the fact the pair were not married.

In quotes carried by Paris-Match, Trierweiler says that at the beginning, "it was electric between us when we were together."

But Hollande changed, "de-humanised" as he got closer to the reins of power, Trierweiler was quoted as saying by the weekly.

She became increasingly frustrated with the cabal surrounding Hollande as he campaigned for the keys to the Elysee Palace.

According to Paris-Match, Stephane Le Foll, a close advisor and now government spokesman, told her: "If you want an evening with Francois, you have to go through me."

The author insists everything she writes is the truth and says she has "suffered from too many lies to start telling lies herself".

The 320-page book "is a cry of love as well as a slow descent into hell, a plunge into the intimacy of a couple. Two people and nothing more: Valerie and Francois," the weekly writes.

The former political correspondent at Paris Match recounts how she felt her relationship with Hollande was falling apart even before news of his affair with Gayet broke.

“I feel as if François no longer wants me to be part of his political life. I am in love with a man who I feel is slipping away from me with all the glory. My world is upside down,” she writes.

 But after their break-up Trierweiler says her and Hollande continued to see each other and exchange text messages. The president sent 29 texts in just one day," she writes.

So despite coming under fire for publicly dumping Trierweiler days after news of the affair broke and after she had been released from hospital after a short stay for "exhaustion", Hollande apparently was desperate to get her back.

“He told me that he need me. Every evening he asked me to go for dinner with him and that he wanted me back, no matter what price he had to pay," she writes. "He said he would win me back as if I was an election."

According to a friend of Trierweiler’s who was quoted in Le Parisien, the ex-first lady “clearly understood” by spring, that she would not be going back to the Elysée.

“She had thought Julie Gayet was out of the picture, but that was not the case,” said the source, who suggested Trierweiler’s only way to take revenge was to write the book and keep it a secret until the last moment.

Trierweiler and her publishers have managed to keep the lid on the publication of the book in order to gain maximum publicity when it is finally released this week. It's also come as a nasty shock to Hollande himself, it seems.

The publication of the book has come as a surprise to the Elysée, where a source told AFP they were "not aware" of the book's publication. "So by definition we have not read this book."

The book has been described in various quarters as “the bomb”, “the shock book” or “the book that shakes the Elysée”.

In order to keep it top secret and to prevent any leaks, independent publishers Les Arènes, kept the editing team tight and had the book printed in Germany.

“The delivery lorries are only crossing the border today, so the shelves will be filled first thing tomorrow morning," a source told Le Parisien.

Writing in a column for Paris Match, journalist Catherine Schwaab says Hollande can “sleep well” as there are no state secrets revealed in the book.

“Valérie only talks about love, tears and passion,” she said.

However, that doesn’t mean it will be any less embarrassing for the head of state.

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