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French first lady as ‘chameleon’

Carla: A Secret Life — an unauthorized biography chronicles her transformation from an allegedly tempestuous man-eater into an apparent meek, model spouse.

books Updated: Sep 19, 2010 01:12 IST

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s marriage to ex-supermodel Carla Bruni was touted as a coup for the French leader. But the author of Carla: A Secret Life — an unauthorized biography chronicling her transformation from an allegedly tempestuous man-eater into an apparent meek, model spouse suggests Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has become something of a political liability for her husband. So much so, Besma Lahouri even says Bruni-Sarkozy’s alleged rivalry with Michelle Obama has strained relations between the French and U.S. presidential couples.

A longtime investigative reporter with L'Express news magazine and author of an unauthorized biography of French soccer icon Zinedine Zidane, Lahouri said she interviewed about 100 people during her research for Carla. But she never interviewed the first lady herself as Bruni-Sarkozy declined Lahouri’s requests.

Lahouri also quotes an unnamed plastic surgeon who redid Bruni-Sarkozy’s nose. She chronicles Bruni-Sarkozy’s well-calculated entree into the world of rock ‘n’ roll, leading to her liaisons with Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger.