PARIS -– France is caught up in a presidential soap opera that has seen recently elected Francois Hollande embroiled in a spat between his current "first lady" girlfriend and his former partner and children.
The president's eldest son fueled the domestic drama Thursday with a blistering attack on his father's partner, journalist Valerie Trierweiler, saying that neither he nor his three siblings wanted to have anything to do with her after she tweeted against their mother.
Trierweiler, 47, caused a national storm when she posted a message of support on Twitter for the political rival of Hollande's former companion, Segolene Royal, just days before the two faced each other on the ballot in last month's legislative elections. Trierweiler was said to have been jealous and furious when the president issued a public statement of support for his former partner.
Royal, 58, went on to lose her parliamentary seat and with it her dream of becoming president of the National Assembly.
Thomas Hollande, 27, a lawyer, said the tweet had "stupefied" his father. "I knew she [Trierweiler] would do something one day, but not such a huge blow. It's staggering," the younger Hollande told the French newsmagazine Le Point.
"What I find reproachful about the tweet is that it put the private life into the public domain. It pained me on behalf of my father who absolutely detests anyone talking about his private life. It destroyed the normal image that he had constructed."
During his election campaign against incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, Hollande, 57, had presented himself as “Mr. Normal” and sought to play up the contrast between him and his predecessor's flashy image. Trierweiler was portrayed as a more discreet and dignified alternative to the former first lady, supermodel-turned-singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
Thomas Hollande said it was "logical" that he, his brother and two sisters no longer wished to see Trierweiler.
"What's important is that we normalize relations with our father," he said.
-- Kim Willsher
Photo: Valerie Trierweiler, left, the companion of French President Francois Hollande, has come under a blistering attack from the president's son Thomas Hollande, right. Credit: Patrick Kovarik / AFP / Getty Images