The unmarried woman set to become France’s First Lady, if Francois Hollande is elected president as expected on Sunday, says she will happily play a supporting role but above all she wants to remain a journalist and a working mother. Valerie Trierweiler dares to think she can couple the ceremonial role with a long-term media career and continue to provide for three teenage sons the twice-divorced reporter had before she and Hollande formed a couple several years ago.
The Paris Match magazine reporter, who has put her work on ice for now, insists that being a celebrity is more of a chore than an ambition, and could impinge on life’s simple pleasures, such as unnoticed visits to her local food market. “Being First Lady is playing a supporting act,” Trierweiler said in an interview. “I am not seeking notoriety and I am not seeking to grab the limelight.”
Trierweiler, who bears a resemblance to late American actress Katharine Hepburn, says people have recently started asking for pictures and autographs. She is happy to do so but still wonders why they ask. Her trademark dark sunglasses are to shield her sensitive eyes, she said.
Trierweiler says she and Hollande first met 23 years ago when she was a political reporter, and their romance — they are not married — also began well before he seemed likely to run for presidency. Hollande split officially in 2007 from Segolene Royal, who had four children with him.
Hollande and Trierweiler remain coy about their status as an unmarried couple in a world where wedlock is so entrenched that the French duo may make life complicated for those who worry about the protocol of state visits.
She relishes, when she and Hollande find enough time to take a country walk or eat dinner on the sofa, in front of a movie or the prime-time news on a Sunday night.
Some say she is distant to the point of appearing cold. Trierweiler says it is up to her to bring in money needed to raise a family and the job gives her a sense of fulfilment too. “I want to work and I have to work,” she said. As she awaits the outcome of the May 6 ballot, Trierweiler admits that nothing will be quite the same, either way. “Whatever happens on Sunday, merely thinking of it makes my legs buckle.”