Comme si de rien n’était

The Italian-born Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of current French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was born on December 23, 1967. She moved to France in 1975 because her family was apparently at risk of being targeted for kidnapping by the Red Brigade, a Marxist-Leninist group active in Italy, due to the wealth amassed by her tire magnate grandfather. She is officially the daughter of two classical musicians, but Bruni-Sarkozy has recently asserted that her biological father is a Brazilian classical guitarist with whom her mother had a long term affair.

Carla Bruni

Carla Bruni (Photo credit: Saül Gordillo)

Bruni  came to Paris to study art, but dropped out at age 19 to pursue a career as a model. This decision worked out rather well for her, as she became the darling of all the top fashion houses. In her best years, she was among the 20 highest paid models in the world, earning 7.5 million one year. Her nude photographs from those years are worth a fortune when they come on the market.

Bruni became the arm-candy of international celebrities, such as Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, and even Donald Trump, often cast in the “home wrecker” role. She had a son with Raphaël Enthoven, Aurélien, in 2001 at a time when she was living with Enthoven’s father (Bruni-Sarkozy hotly denies any sexual relationship with the father) and Enthoven was married to novelist Justine Lévy. Since, as William Congreve said, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” Lévy got her revenge in a novel, Rien de Grave (Nothing Serious), in which the evil croqueuse-d’hommes (man-eater) is a thinly disguised Carla Bruni. Bruni and Enthoven split up shortly before the romance with Sarkozy began.



Knowing her musical background, it’s no surprise that when Bruni left modeling, she turned to music, first as a lyricist for Julien Clerc, then as a composer and performer accompanying herself on the guitar. Her first solo album Quelqu’un m’a dit (2002) had several hits, including the title track and “Raphaël,” a sexy, sassy tribute to Enthoven. Like her speaking voice, Bruni’s singing voice is soft and whispery, promising intimate secrets. I’m amused by the way the she ends many statements with a breathy little “Voilà” that says nothing but implies much.

A second album, No Promises (2007), was based on the works of several English-language poets. Her live performance of several excerpts from this album shows how comfortable she is in English, which has proven to be an asset in her present job as Première Dame of France.

Her third album, the aptly named Comme si de rien n’était (Come see duh reeN nayteh), was released in 2008 after her marriage to Sarkozy. It means “as if nothing had happened” and is a way of saying that Bruni-Sarkozy will continue to live her own life, even while living in the presidential palace. “Je suis une enfant” got a lot of interest for its lyrics referring to her 30 lovers and another referred to her lover (Sarkozy?) as her “drug.” The proceeds from this album are going to charity. All of her albums have reached #1 status in France, although none has rivaled the sales success of her first. In 2011, Bruni-Sarkozy made her acting debut with a small role as a tour guide at the Musée Rodin in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.

English: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France a...

English: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and his wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, prior to the summit dinner at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa., Sept. 24, 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for her life with Nicolas Sarkozy, the two met late in 2007. After a brief and very public courtship, during which a clearly besotted President mixed business with pleasure, the couple married quietly in early 2008. This was Sarkozy’s third marriage and Bruni-Sarkozy’s third; shortly thereafter, she took out French citizenship. The French were rather off-put by the ostentatious displays of the President’s private life at a time when the world was in the early throes of the worst economic crisis since 1929. Who was minding the store? Bruni-Sarkozy herself, however, has scored points for the classy way she represents France, comparisons often being made to Jackie Kennedy in the Camelot years of the American White House. And then another nude picture scandal will bubble up. Awkward. Her personal web-site deals with her many charitable engagements. The power couple had a baby girl, Giulia, on October 19, 2011, a first for a French president while in office.

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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3 Responses to Comme si de rien n’était

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