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Carla Bruni: fashion model turned hit musician

Carla Bruni, who has been romantically linked to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is an heiress who made a second fortune as a supermodel and has now turned to music.

world Updated: Dec 17, 2007 20:15 IST

Carla Bruni, who has been romantically linked to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is an heiress who made a second fortune as a supermodel and has now turned to music.

A familiar face on the front pages of French fashion magazines she has also released two successful pop albums in the past five years, the latest sung in English and based mainly on texts by poets such W.B. Yeats and Emily Dickinson.

Carla Bruni Tedeschi, who will turn 39 on Sunday, was born in Turin into a wealthy, musically inclined family.

Her father, Alberto Bruni Tedeschi was a classical composer, industrialist and theatre director while her mother Marysa Borini is a concert pianist and actress.

The family moved to France when Carla was five, at a time when wealthy Italians faced a real threat of kidnapping from the Red Brigades, a left-wing terrorist group.

The young girl attended a finishing school in Switzerland and then studied art in Paris.

She branched out into fashion, and became one of the best paid models in the world.

According to an industry magazine, she was earning over seven million dollars a year at the end of the 1990s when she gave up the catwalk; among her clients was the Italian fashion house Dolce and Gabbana.

In 1999 she contributed lyrics to an album by French pop singer Julien Clerc, and three years later she brought out her own first album entitled "Quelqu'un m'a dit" (Somebody told me). It sold around one million copies.

Her second offering, "No Promises" was issued in January this year but has done less well.

Bruni's name has been linked romantically to a series of stars, including Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Eric Clapton.

In recent years however she has lived with a French philosopher, with whom she had a son six years ago.

Carla Bruni was the youngest of three children; the eldest, a brother, died of cancer in 2006, while her elder sister, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi is an actress.

Bruni's reported relationship with the French leader may be yet another example of the "political opening" which Sarkozy has practiced since he was elected president of France in May this year.

In an interview with a British newspaper in that month, at a time when Sarkozy was still married to his second wife Cecilia, Bruni stated that she had always been on the political left.

If she had been French, she would have voted not for Sarkozy but for his Socialist opponent Segolene Royal, she told the Sunday Herald.