Hollande's ex bites back in tell-all book

Hollande's ex bites back in tell-all book

PARIS - It is a perfectly timed revenge for France's former first lady.

At a time when President Francois Hollande's popularity is near historic lows, Ms Valerie Trierweiler, 49, has spilled the beans on their tumultuous relationship and called him a hypocrite who despises the poor in a kiss-and-tell memoir.

An account of her suicide attempt when she found out about his affair with actress Julie Gayet has embarrassed Mr Hollande further but the most damaging claim could be her depiction of the president as a cold and uncaring snob, miles away from his self-styled image as "Mr Normal".

"He presented himself as the man who does not like the rich," Ms Trierweiler says, reported Le Monde.

"In reality, the president does not like the poor," she writes, pointing out that he jokingly calls them "the toothless" in private, and is proud of his humour, British media reported.

But Mr Hollande's previous partner Segolene Royal shot down as "rubbish" the claim that France's first Socialist president in nearly two decades secretly despised the poor.

When it comes to their love life, Ms Trierweiler paints Mr Hollande as an unfaithful liar.

She writes that Mr Hollande swore "on my son's head" that rumours of his affair with Ms Gayet were not true.

Then the tabloid magazine Closer published photos of Mr Hollande riding pillion on a scooter to see the actress.

Ms Trierweiler recalls: "I rush to the bathroom. I grab a small plastic bag of sleeping pills. Francois follows me. He tries to snatch the bag from me. I run to the bedroom. He seizes the bag, and it tears. The pills scatter on the bed and the floor. I try to pick them up. I take all of them that I can reach. I want to sleep. I don't want to live through the hours that are about to come."

The 320-page book entitled Merci Pour Ce Moment, or Thanks For The Moment, released yesterday, was printed in Germany to avoid any leaks.

Ms Trierweiler wrote the book in utmost secrecy for six months and never connected her laptop to the Internet, The Telegraph said.

On Amazon France, it overtook the hugely popular erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey, which has spent 224 days in the top 100, and was the site's fifth best-selling book.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls described the book as "outrageous" while right-wing leader Marine Le Pen, usually a trenchant critic of Mr Hollande, said it was a "dishonour for France", Agence France-Presse reported.

Ms Trierweiler also talks of the flowers and text messages he sent and the dinner invitations he made after his affair resulted in their break-up.

"He tells me he wants to win me back like I was an election," she writes, according to excerpts in Paris Match magazine, where she is a columnist.

She said she felt solidarity with Mrs Michelle Obama when her husband, US President Barack Obama, took a now-notorious selfie with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Bloomberg reported.

"I am happy not to be the only jealous woman," she writes.

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