Trierweiler puts on brave face in Mumbai

Trierweiler puts on brave face in Mumbai

 Shorn of her status as the first lady, Valerie Trierweiler, former companion of French President Francois Hollande, made her first public appearance here on Monday, saying she is feeling “very good” but fobbed off questions about her private life.

Trierweiler, who went ahead with her India visit despite the weekend announcement of the separation by Hollande, said she was happy to be here for a “cause close to her heart”. “I am happy to be here. Don’t be worried about me. I have time – years to live,” Trierweiler, 48, a career journalist and Hollande’s partner of eight years, told a media conference organised for the launch of charity Fight Hunger Foundation.

“I don’t know if it is for me to judge, or for you. I was there for 19 months,” she said in her brief public comment since the scandal broke out earlier this month, following revelations of Hollande’s affair with actor Julie Gayet, 41. A French magazine had published news and photos of Hollande visiting the actress for a secret tryst on a scooter.

A distraught Trierweiler was hospitalised for a week after the scandal became public and was later resting at a presidential retreat before embarking on visit to India.

“I was able to discover people who I hadn’t known. I understood that you can be useful, and in being useful to others you can be useful to yourself,” she said, speaking in French.

Though the couple started living together after Hollande’s split from Segolene Royal, a Socialist party presidential candidate in 2007, who was defeated by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, the couple never married.

Trierweiler assumed responsibilities of the first lady after Hollande’s election in 2012.

“This visit has been in my diary for the last six months and we have been planning it for the last year. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” she said, putting up a brave face. After a visit to the paediatric ward of a government-run hospital, Trierweiler said she found the sight “very moving” and promised to continue with her work.

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