French election 2012: Francois Hollande girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler vents fury at her own magazine
Valérie Trierweiler, the girlfriend of French Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande expressed fury at finding herself splashed on the front page of the Paris Match magazine for whom she works.
The controversy shone a fresh spotlight on the, some say unhealthy, proximity between politicians and journalists in France.
Trierweiler, 46 - who met Mr Hollande while covering politics for Paris Match - continues to work for the magazine that took her on in 1989. But last November she agreed not to write about the presidential campaign due to a conflict of interest.
On Thursday, however, she claimed she was outraged to find a photo of her and Mr Hollande on the front cover with the headline: “Valérie, François Hollande’s trump charm. The story of how their love was born.” Several pages of pictures and text were dedicated to the couple inside.
"What a shock to find yourself on the front page of your own paper. I am angry to see the use of photos without my agreement and without letting me know," Miss Trierweiler posted on Twitter.
Twitter: Valerie Trierweiler - Quel choc de se découvrir à la Une de son propre journal. Colère de découvrir l'utilisation de photos sans mon accord ni même être prévenue.
In a second, even more irate tweet, Miss Trierweiler sarcastically congratulated the glossy magazine for reducing her to a trophy companion. “Bravo Paris Match for (its) sexism on International Women's Day...(spare) a thought for all angry women,” she wrote.
The magazine's Twitter page shot back with an equally sarcastic reply.
"It's true, Valerie. We didn't discuss the front page with you. That's Match's independence. You are best placed to understand that," it wrote.
Twitter: Paris Match C’est vrai Valérie on n’a pas discuté avec toi de la couv. C'est l'indépendance de Match. Tu es la mieux placée pour le comprendre.
“To make out she wasn’t warned is not entirely the truth either,” Régis Le Sommier, the magazine’s deputy editor told rue89.
The divorced mother of three, who polls currently forecast to be France's next first lady after the two-round elections in April and May, is playing an active role in her partner’s campaign. She has an office at Mr Hollande’s headquarters and his aides know to keep their distance when the words "mon amour" flash up on his mobile phone, as they do several times a day.
Miss Trierweiler came to mutual agreement with Paris Match not to take part in the magazine’s editorial conferences during the campaign, saying: “They cannot deprive themselves of a subject and the idea is that I cannot intervene.”
There is another potential reason for Paris Match to keep its distance: it is owned by arms and media tycoon Arnaud Lagardère who is a close friend of Mr Hollande’s chief rival, Nicolas Sarkozy.
The conservative incumbent was widely reported to have had a hand in the dismissal of a former Paris Match editor after he splashed photos of Mr Sarkozy’s second wife Cécilia and her lover Richard Attias in New York on the front cover.
Miss Trierweiler also recently gave up presenting a TV show on the campaign for Direct 8 channel called Portraits of Candidates for another on celebrities.
She expressed relief at dropping political coverage, saying:” I have not gone over to the other side, but...when you have a leg either side (of journalism and politics), you are off balance.”
Liaisons between French journalists and politicians are commonplace, among them ex-Socialist presidential contender Dominique Strauss-Kahn and ex-chat show star Anne Sinclair and Bernard Kouchner, the former foreign minister and his presenter wife, Christine Ockrent.
But the start of Miss Trierweiler’s romance with Mr Hollande was particularly controversial; the pair have been an item since 2005 but they and the French media kept it quiet during the 2007 presidential elections so as not to damage the chances of Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal – then Mr Hollande’s official partner with whom he had four children.
Miss Trierweiler confirms that Miss Royal was aware of their liaison beforehand in a new book, extracts of which were published in Paris Match. “She knew the truth about the real nature of the ties uniting François and me,” she is cited as saying in “Valérie, Carla, Cécilia, Bernadette and the others on the campaign trail”. She could not bring herself to vote for Miss Royal, she added, as it was too “painful”.
Reports of their rivalry led to speculation Miss Trierweiler had a hand in ensuring Miss Royal was airbrushed out of a film shown at Mr Hollande’s campaign launch last month.
She denies this in the book in which she receives the unlikely support of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who slams as “ultra-macho” the idea of “preventing a women practicing her profession on the grounds that she is a high-profile politician’s wife”.