But now the tables are turned, and the 47-year-old finds herself on the media radar because of her role as France's new first lady.
The partner of President François Hollande began her official duties as she met her US counterpart Michelle Obama at the weekend.
Being in the spotlight is a new experience for the mother of four and she will clearly have to get used to all the attention.
The premiere dame seemed less than comfortable as the mom-in-chief enveloped her in a big hug and kissed her cheek.
Michelle and Valerie were visiting a youth centre with other spouses of world leaders who are all on the Camp David G8 summit.
Unlike many women in her position, Valerie plans to keep her post at French magazine Paris Match.
And she's not be entirely happy with the way her own publication has reported her story.
When her editor put her on the cover with the headline "François Hollande's charming asset", he got short shrift.
Responding angrily to the article describing her as stylish and supportive of the politician on the campaign trail, Valerie tweeted: "Bravo Paris Match for its sexism . . . my thoughts go out to all angry women."
Although she's still learning the ropes, the writer certainly looks the part.
She accessorised a pretty fawn-coloured summer dress with sky high brown heels.
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