Trierweiler 'took pills' over Hollande split in France

French President Francois Hollande's ex-partner Valerie Trierweiler has written a new book in which she claims he dislikes the poor, as Alpa Patel reports

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France's former First Lady, Valerie Trierweiler, has revealed she swallowed sleeping pills after confronting President Francois Hollande over his affair with actress Julie Gayet.

Her account of their break-up has been revealed in excerpts of a book published by Paris Match magazine.

Photos of Mr Hollande's liaison with Ms Gayet appeared in January.

Ms Trierweiler describes how she snapped after hearing about the affair and wanted to escape.

The president's break-up with Ms Trierweiler captivated France for weeks at the start of 2014 and such was the secrecy surrounding her book that it was printed in Germany.

Until now she has said little about how their relationship ended and the contents of her book, Thank You For This Moment, have been kept under wraps ahead of publication on Thursday.

Even President Hollande only found out about it on Tuesday: he's said to be flabbergasted, the BBC's Hugh Schofield reports from Paris.

"The Julie Gayet story is the top headline on the morning bulletins," her account in Paris Match begins.

"I crack up. I can't listen to that. I rush into the bathroom. I grab the little plastic bag which has sleeping pills in. Francois has followed me, he tries to snatch the bag. I run into the bedroom.

"He snatches the bag which tears. Some pills spill on the ground. I reach out to pick some up, I swallow what I can. I want to sleep, I don't want to live through the coming hours. I want to escape, I lose consciousness."

President Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler (file pic Sept 2013) President Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler separated formally soon after she left hospital
Julie Gayet (file pic August 2014) Julie Gayet successfully sued Closer magazine for its reports on her liaison with Mr Hollande

After pictures were published by Closer magazine of Mr Hollande arriving at a flat for meetings with Ms Gayet, the first lady was admitted to hospital in Paris where she spent a week.

At the time, French media quoted a friend of Ms Trierweiler saying that she had taken "one pill too many" but denying she had tried to commit suicide.

She then continued her recuperation at the presidential residence at Versailles before the couple formally separated.

Ms Gayet, 42, successfully sued Closer magazine in March for breaching her privacy.

'Toothless poor'

Before beginning a relationship with Ms Trierweiler, Mr Hollande had four children with Segolene Royal, a former Socialist presidential candidate who joined the French government this year and is now environment minister.

In one extract in Paris Match - the magazine that journalist Ms Trierweiler worked for before and during her time as first lady - she describes how the French president initially admitted only that the affair had gone on for more than a month. Eventually, she discovered it had lasted an entire year.

She also takes a swipe at Mr Hollande's Socialist credentials, claiming that while he has created an image of disliking the rich, "in reality the president doesn't like the poor".

"He, the man of the left, talks about "the toothless ones" in private, very proud of his humorous streak."

The hashtag "SansDents" fast became a top-trending French-language topic on Twitter on Wednesday just behind "Trierweiler".

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