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Valerie Trierweiler: France's revolutionary new first lady

May 7, 2012
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With the departure of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, all eyes are on France's new first lady Valerie Trierweiler, partner of President Francois Hollande. And even at first glance, it's clear to see this 47-year-old, twice divorced mother-of-three will put a very different spin on the role than her predecessor.


In fact, if the journalist stays true to her word and keeps working for the weekly magazine Paris Match, it will be the first time a president's partner has kept up a regular job while her other half is in office. Valerie covered politics for 20 years but switched to the arts once her husband embarked on the campaign trail.

 She was incensed, however, when her own magazine put her on its cover with the headline "Francois Hollande's charming asset". She tweeted in response: "Bravo Paris Match for its sexism . . . my thoughts go out to all angry women." Coming from a modest family in Eastern France, Valerie – like her husband – styles herself as the antithesis of "bling".She shops for clothes at the market and searches for stray socks under her teenage sons' beds.


Despite her apparently normal life, she is a force to be reckoned with – it is Valerie who is credited with revamping her husband's image for his presidential campaign. He slimmed down, sharpened his suits and did away with his old-fashioned horn-rimmed glasses under her guidance. The new French premiere began a relationship with Valerie, whom he describes in interviews as "the love of my life", in 2006. At the time he was still with the mother of his four children, Segolene Royal. Segolene beat him to the title of Socialist party candidate in the 2007 presidential elections, though ultimately she lost out to Nicolas Sarkozy. When their three-decade relationship broke down, Francois and Segolene were said to be on frosty terms. But they appear to have regained their friendship, with Segolene backing her former partner in his bid for president.

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