Carla is used to life at centre of sexual storms
Whatever she may have said about lack of sex in the Elysee Palace, Mrs Sarkozy is the sort of gal who know what she wants, says Aoife Drew
THE world views Carla Bruni as a highly sexed bedroom predator. After all, this is the woman who once told French newspaper Le Figaro: "I am a tamer of men, a cat, an Italian . . . Monogamy bores me terribly . . . I prefer polygamy and polyandry [its female equivalent]".
So it's hardly surprising that a book by Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter which claims she confided to Michelle Obama how the strains of being president prevented her husband Nicolas Sarkozy from making love to her as often as she would desire has made headlines around the globe.
Sometimes, she is reported to have said, they had to squeeze in conjugal duties between tight deadlines, once making love before a state occasion.
The image of a panting first couple keeping a head of state waiting is also a far cry from the media storm only a couple of months ago when it was alleged that Sarko was busy seeking comfort in the arms of fellow politician Chantal Jouanno, while Carla, it was suggested, had become closely involved with award-winning singer Benjamin Biolay.
Now Alter's book has put the focus very much back on the Sarkozys' love life -- and, as always, on Carla, a pioneering French premiere dame: open about her own sexual appetite rather than spending her time hiding her husband's. However, the French press are quick to indicate that Alter doesn't cite his sources. So, news of the Sarkozys' scheduling difficulties may be taken with a pinch of salt, even if the couple has not denied anything yet.
In any case, they seem more loved-up than ever. Sarkozy acts like a lovestruck young fellow, as proud as punch of his lovely wife. Sometimes it's all a bit too much.
The pair recently made a state visit to China. At the close of the trip, Sarko announced he would like to say a special thanks to a certain someone who has done wonders for the image of France. But who could this be, Monsieur le President? He smiled, paused for dramatic effect, turned to his wife and lovingly proclaimed "Carla", while she feigned amazement.
Minister Jean-Louis Borloo could not help but stifle a giggle with his hand. Cringe.
Although Carla may pretend she gets embarrassed by this exposure, she certainly has no plans to hide her light under a bushel. With her background as a supermodel, she is no stranger to the cameras and intends to build on her showbiz career. Madame Sarkozy will take a role in Woody Allen's movie Midnight in Paris, due to be filmed this summer. According to Variety magazine, the movie is "a romantic comedy following a family travelling to the city for business, including a young couple who have their lives transformed throughout the journey".
She'll act alongside Hollywood stars such as Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard and Kathy Bates.
And that's not all. American publishers Bluewater House announced this month that Carla will be the heroine of a new comic book set to be released in August.
The book, part of the 'Female Force' collection, is dedicated to influential political women and has traced the careers of the likes of first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.
Is all this publicity suitable for a woman in her position? It's all too vulgar for many French people, who are more used to the likes of Bernadette Chirac or Danielle Mitterrand, women who stood in the background while their husbands enjoyed as much extra-curricular activity as possible. Some point out that neither Sarkozy nor Bruni are truly French (he has Hungarian/ Greek origins, and she is Italian).
Having the beautiful Carla by his side may flatter Sarko's ego, but their lovey-dovey antics don't seem to be doing him any favours in the polls, where he flounders with only a 30 per cent satisfaction rating.