After the divorce my friends queued up to wed him, says former Mrs Sarkozy

Cecilia Attias says that she left Nicolas Sarkozy shortly after his election in 2007 'because he had sort of forgotten me'


For six years she has remained silent, more or less. In a book to be published next week, Nicolas Sarkozy’s second wife, Cécilia, speaks out… a little.

Cecilia Attias, 53, now living with her third husband in New York, says that she left Mr Sarkozy shortly after his election in 2007, “because he had sort of forgotten me”.

She reveals that several of her friends immediately scrambled to divorce their husbands in the hope of achieving “wealth and power” by marrying the bachelor President. All of them were disappointed, when Mr Sarkozy married Carla Bruni six months after Cecilia left.

The former first lady explains that, once inside the Elysée Palace, Mr Sarkozy was transformed from “dynamic” politician to an “agitated” president, prone to “terrible rages”. The world already knows that? Yes, but Cecilia goes on to give an interesting, if self-serving, psychoanalysis of the man with whom she lived for 25 years. 

“It is strange,” she writes “that this man who was totally placid in his private life, a man who never raised his voice at home… managed to project such an impulsive public image.”

As a candidate, she says, Mr Sarkozy was concerned for “all victims” and “those left by the wayside”. In power, he “disturbed public opinion” with his “worrying impulses” and “shocking comments”.

Ms Attias is especially critical of former President Sarkozy’s unsuccessful re-election campaign last year in which he borrowed hard-right and populist themes and language from the National Front. She said: “he ran after voters on the extremes, and scarcely found any, when every political expert will tell you that elections in France, like most great democracies, are won in the centre.” The unspoken implication is that Mr Sarkozy lost his political bearings when he lost Cecilia, who had been his informal political adviser and spokeswoman for common-sense. However, she rejects suggestions she was the driving force behind Mr Sarkozy’s rise to power.

“Contrary to what has been written, I never sought to influence my former husband,” she writes. “I never advised him to take one direction rather than another.”

The book, “Une envie de verité (A desire for the truth) – has been the subject of much advance speculation and curiosity. The news magazine Le Point, published extracts, which turned out to be largely bland. There were no bitter recriminations against Mr Sarkozy; no catty comments about Carla. Le Monde said: “Those who expected... the settling of accounts will be disappointed.”

Cecilia Attias divorced Mr Sarkozy in October 2007, four months after he was elected president. She is now married to a French PR executive, Richard Attias, for whom she had left Mr Sarkozy for 12 months in 2005-6.

She says that she fell for Mr Attias because he was “solid, precise and reassuring” – the “opposite” of the “superficial” political world that she had come to detest.

“I am just a simple person who has had a complicated life,” she writes.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little