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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Valérie Trierweiler book: 'François Hollande put me on drugs to keep me out of the way’

In her explosive memoir, Mr Hollande's ex-girlfriend says she put up posters of her ex-husband to show him how hard it was to deal with his ex-partner, Ségolène Royal, being in the spotlight

Henry Samuel

Published 04/09/2014 | 23:55

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Valerie Trierweiler
Valerie Trierweiler

François Hollande made sure doctors kept his spurned ex-girlfriend, Valérie Trierweiler, drugged on “astronomical” amounts of tranquillisers after their break-up to keep her in hospital and out of his hair, she claims in an explosive book published on Thursday.

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The accusation, one of many levelled at the French president in Merci Pour Ce Moment [Thanks For This Moment], came as allies and even enemies defended the man Ms Trierweiler claims is the “king of doublespeak, ambiguity and permanent lying” and a Leftist who “doesn’t like the poor”.

French President Francois Hollande and ex Valerie Trierweiler, who reveals suicide bid in the Elysee Palace after Gayet affair. Photo: Reuters

Mr Hollande was said to be “devastated” about the book, which he knew nothing about.

Penned in revenge over Mr Hollande’s split with Ms Trierweiler in January after revelations of his affair with Julie Gayet, the actress, the 320-page tome has shot to the top of the French bestseller list, even beating initial sales of Fifty Shades of Grey in France.

Actress Julie Gayet
Actress Julie Gayet

She was reportedly paid more than €500,000 for the memoir.

“It seemed to me the only way to take back control of my life was to recount it,” she begins.

In barbed purple prose “worthy of Barbara Cartland”, according to one critic, Ms Trierweiler lays into almost every aspect of Mr Hollande’s character, recounting in graphic detail the highs and lows of their relationship and 18 months in the Élysée Palace.

One of the most controversial passages recounts the conditions in which she was kept in hospital for a week after taking sleeping pills in the Élysée bedroom following the break-up.

Despite feeling weak, Ms Trierweiler says she insisted that she wanted to travel to Tulle, Mr Hollande’s power-base in Corrèze, central France, for his New Year’s greetings. The day after mentioning her intention to the president, she says she was “unable to get up”.

“Every time I try and put a foot out of the bed, I collapse … I only understood why later. The doses of tranquillisers were over-multiplied to stop me going to Tulle,” she writes.

Later she speaks of “instructions from on high to increase my dose”.

Ms Trierweiler recounts how she spoke to Miss Gayet on the telephone, asking her to deny the rumours of the affair. She said that Miss Gayet replied that her lawyer had threatened to sue anyone who spread them.

“How can anyone lie so much?” Ms Trierweiler asks.

When the rumours became more persistent, she recounts how she swallowed an entire pack of sleeping pills, after which Mr Hollande “drags her to the bathroom to vomit”, then leaves her on the Élysée bed and does not come back. She accuses him of “non-assistance of a person in danger”.

Much of the book is taken up recounting Mr Hollande’s apparent attempts to woo her back after the humiliating split.

The president, she says, invites her to “spend the last night together” even after showing her his separation statement. She adds: “A few weeks ago, he proposed to me. That was the third time.” On his 60th birthday last month, Mr Hollande sent her a text, she claims, saying: “It is for you to say 'yes’ to me”.

Much of Ms Trierweiler’s fire is turned on Ségolène Royal, the mother of the president’s four children and his ecology minister. Their relationship ended due to his affair with Ms Trierweiler. To make a point about how hard it was to deal with Miss Royal being constantly in the media eye, she put photographs of her ex-husband on the walls until Mr Hollande complained.

She also claims Miss Royal had offered not to run for president if Mr Hollande promised to leave Miss Trierweiler, and that in 2012 Miss Royal agreed to support his candidacy in primaries in exchange for “financial” gain.

Miss Royal poured scorn on the book on Thursday, particularly over claims that Mr Hollande “doesn’t like the poor” and refers to them as “toothless”.

“It’s rubbish, it’s the exact opposite of the political commitment of a great leader of the Left,” she said.

Even Marine Le Pen, far-Right Front National leader, said the book was a “profoundly indecent settling of scores”. The release could not come at a worse time for Mr Hollande, whose approval ratings on Thursday fell to an all-time low of 13 per cent, according to a TNS-Sofres poll.

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