Many say that Paris is the city of romance, and at the moment, nobody knows that better than Nicolas Sarkozy. Less than three months after becoming the first president of France to divorce while in office, the current French leader, 52, is set to wed Italian singer and former supermodel Carla Bruni, a potent distraction from the plunge in his approval ratings. But his ex-wife, Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz, isn’t having so much joie de vivre this week.
Three new books about the former French first lady are coming out in French bookshops this week — one of which Ciganer-Albéniz herself is attempting to block. Cécilia, by journalist Anna Bitton, quotes its subject as criticizing the president’s personality and parenting skills. Ciganer-Albéniz, 50, has requested a suspension of publication for the book following the publication of several excerpts; a court in Paris has scheduled a hearing on January 10.
According to AFP, Ciganer-Albéniz has announced in a public statement that she “asked her lawyers to take any necessary action to ensure that her rights are protected with regard to the remarks that are attributed to her” in Bitton’s book.
One of Sarkozy’s aides, Roger Karoutchi, said in a TV interview that Ciganer-Albéniz had denied making the comments and insisted that the president has a very close, loving relationship with the former couple’s 10-year-old son, Louis. Karoutchi, who is the secretary of state for liaison with France’s parliament, said: “We are now saying that [Sarkozy] doesn’t love his children. Can you not see where this is leading?” He added, “This is ridiculous. We have to stop. It’s getting completely out of hand.”
In response, author Bitton told AFP that “the book is based on the long relationship that [Ciganer-Albéniz and I] have developed over the years as part of my journalistic work,” adding that she was “very surprised” and “regretted” the former presidential wife’s actions.
Another new book on Ciganer-Albéniz, Cécilia: La Face Cachée de L’ex-premiere Dame by Denis Demonpion and Laurent Leger, reveals that Sarkozy was temporarily hospitalized with a throat infection three days after he announced his divorce in October. The ailment was allegedly covered up, as Sarkozy had promised the public to be open about his health.
The Sarkozys married in October 1996 in Neuilly, of which Sarkozy was once mayor. Sarkozy also has two adult sons from a previous marriage.
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