Valerie Trierweiler, France's former first lady, blamed "low blows", "back-stabbing" and "betrayals" at the Elysee Palace for hastening her break-up with the president.
In her fullest public comments since Francois Hollande's affair with the actress Julie Gayet was revealed, Ms Trierweiler (48) claimed that power had destroyed their relationship and insisted that the pair would not have parted if her ex-partner had not won France's highest office.
"We would still be together had he not become president," she told French journalists at a briefing in Mumbai during a charity trip to India, without elaborating on the link between Mr Hollande's presidential victory and his long-standing affair with Ms Gayet (41).
Despite the wistful take on their nine-year relationship, to which Mr Hollande officially announced he had "put an end" on Saturday after two weeks of confusion, Ms Trierweiler added that she now "feels liberated not to have the compunctions" of life at the centre of power.
She also argued that the role of first lady, although unofficial, serves a purpose in France and should not disappear, despite public scepticism over a president's partner being given an Elysee office, staff and perks.
"I don't mind being called 'ex-first lady'. It's important there is one at the Elysee," she said, adding that she was happy no longer to be playing that role.
"You cannot measure just how much betrayal and hypocrisy there is. You are struck by low blows without asking for anything. That's not my way of doing things," said Ms Trierweiler. (© Daily Telegraph, London)