London, June 1 : After divorcing Nicolas Sarkozy 14 years ago, his first wife Marie-Dominique Culioli has emerged from self-imposed seclusion and spoken about her marriage to the French President in a new book that looks into his relationships with women.
In an interview for a book on Sarkozy's relationships with women, Marie-Dominique Culioli, 53, who was at his side when he launched his political career, said that she has forgiven her former husband for the infidelity that led to their divorce but has not forgotten her betrayal by her friend Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz, who went on to marry him.
"Cecilia was my best friend. She did everything she could to win my friendship to get close to my husband," TimesOnline quoted Marie-Dominique as telling Candice Nedelec, co-author of 'Sarkozy and the Women', which is to be published this week.
Cecilia, 50, was divorced last year from Sarkozy, who then married Carla Bruni, 40, the model and singer.
Marie-Dominique, the daughter of a chemist from southern Corsica, met Sarkozy, then a newly elected councillor in the smart Paris suburb of Neuilly, while still a student at the Sorbonne in 1980.
Two years after their marriage, Sarkozy presided as mayor of Neuilly at the wedding of Cecilia and Jacques Martin, a television personality.
Unbeknown to Marie-Dominique, he fell in love with Cecilia. The two women became friends, raised their children together and attended dinners with their spouses at the best Paris restaurants.
Marie-Dominique discovered that Sarkozy was having an affair in 1988 when the two couples went skiing in the Alpine resort of Meg¨ve.
"Marie drummed on the door of Cecilia's room. There was a sound inside. [She saw] Nicolas's footsteps in the snow," the authors write.
Marie-Dominique did not want a divorce and Sarkozy "went backwards and forwards between the two women", according to the book.
Marie-Dominique had borne Sarkozy two sons, Pierre in 1985 and Jean the following year, whom she told: "One day your father will be president of the republic."