PARIS // France’s former first lady has broken her silence over the tempestuous end of her relationship with President Francois Hollande, detailing her horrified reaction to the news he was having an affair.
In a kiss-and-tell memoir written in secret and due to be published on Thursday, Valerie Trierweiler spills the beans on her relationship with Mr Hollande and the painful and sudden break-up in January after a magazine revealed his sensational affair with actress Julie Gayet.
"Everything I write is true," she says on the cover of the book, called Thank You For This Moment, which is set to do little to improve the image of Mr Hollande – already France's least popular president in history according to opinion polls.
In extracts released on Wednesday by glossy magazine Paris-Match, the 49-year-old former journalist details the bust-up in the presidential bedroom when she realised she had been cheated.
“The information on Julie Gayet is the top headline in the dailies... 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,” she recounts in an episode run in the magazine.
“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 feel the storm about to break over me and I don’t have the strength to resist. I want to flee. I lost consciousness,” she continues.
Mr Hollande’s office said it was “not aware” of the book’s publication.
Ms Trierweiler, a journalist, met Mr Hollande in the mid-2000s.She became the de facto first lady of France after he was elected in 2012, despite the fact the pair were not married.
News of his affair with 42-year-old Ms Gayet caused shockwaves in France in January, and Ms Trierweiler was hospitalised for a week after pictures of Mr Hollande arriving for secret trysts with the actress at a borrowed flat were published.
Mr Hollande then announced his relationship with Ms Trierweiler was over in an 18-word statement that was devoid of regret or remorse for the woman he had described as “the love of my life” in 2010.
"Eighteen words is almost one word for each month we spent together since he was elected," Ms Trierweiler told Le Parisien daily in January, describing herself as "more disappointed than hurt".
The book could prove an embarrassment for Mr Hollande, whose approval ratings are at a record low.
* Agence France-Presse