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How I fell in love with the President`s six brains, by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Nada Almutawa
27/04/2008 12:00 AM


How I fell in love with the President`s six brains, by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

By John Lichfield in Paris
Thursday, 5 June 2008

France`s first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, reveals today that she fell in love with the President for his good looks and his "five or six brains".

In a book containing Mme Bruni-Sarkozy`s first extensive interviews on her high-profile, whirlwind, power romance, the pop singer says her attraction to the President at a "blind date" was "immediate".

"I didn`t expect someone so funny and so alive," she told the authors, Valérie Bénaim and Yves Azéroual. "I was seduced by his looks, his charm and his intelligence. He has five or six remarkably fertile brains."

"I didn`t go out with cretins before I met him, That`s not my style. But he is really, really quick."

The book – La Véritable Histoire de Carla et Nicolas (Editions du Moment) – partly rejects and partly confirms rumours of a difficult relationship between the new first lady and the embattled French Justice Minister, Rachida Dati. Mme Dati is not only a protégée of the President but was also a close friend of his ex-wife, Cécilia.

The book quotes an unnamed source as saying that Mme Bruni-Sarkozy, 40, once teased Mme Dati that she had ambitions to marry the President herself. As the two women passed close to a bed in one of the private rooms in the Elysée Palace on New Year`s Eve, Mme Bruni-Sarkozy – not yet the first lady – is reported to have said: "You would have loved to have slept here, wouldn`t you?"

The book does not record Mme Dati`s reply. It suggests that this was the beginning of a "glacial" relationship between the two. The first lady is also reported to have told the Justice Minister to stop sending her husband text messages early in the morning.

Mme Bruni-Sarkozy is quoted, however, as dismissing a rift. "I see her all the time. She makes me laugh a lot ... There is really no hostility between us."

An unnamed friend of Mme Bruni-Sarkozy is quoted as saying that it is not the first lady who has a "problem" with the Justice Minister. "It is rather the other way around."

In the book, the former supermodel describes her life since a three-month romance with the President and their February marriage. She says that she and M. Sarkozy were set up as a "blind date" at a dinner party after he and his wife had divorced in October. He escorted her home in the early hours of the morning and returned for a candlelit dinner the next day.

Of her role as first lady, Mme Bruni Sarkozy says that she sees no conflict between her new status and her career as a pop singer. She confirms, however, that she will make no public, singing appearances while M. Sarkozy is President.

"I have no intention to change job. I have a function [as first lady] but it is not a job," she said.

"I am only a folk singer. There is nothing subversive in what I sing."

The last, active first lady, Bernadette Chirac, established a charitable-ceremonial role for the president`s wife. Mme Bruni-Sarkozy has made few public outings without her husband so far. Asked how she saw her "job", she gave a response which required fewer than six brains to think up.

"I have two priorities," she said. "To act globally against poverty in the world and to fight against ignorance."