Washington, Aug 7 : She's the epitome of exotic style, self-assurance and sophistication today, but Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's past was from far from being a pleasant experience.
Raised by Turin tyre magnate Alberto Bruni Tedeschi, she found out in 1996 when she was 28 that her genetic father was another millionaire, Maurizio Remmert.
The Italian-born supermodel turned singer learned the truth only when the man she had always called "daddy" was on his deathbed.
Carla, now 40, says the secrets she grew up with had a crippling impact.
"Everything (to do) with denying is sickening. My own childhood reflects that," she told Vanity Fair magazine.
"I think lies are toxic for children, much more than a bad truth.
"Sometimes lies, when you are growing up, make you walk in a funny way to adapt... I felt relieved (when I found out the truth). I stopped feeling weird," she added.
Carla, who hopes to start a family with her new husband, has been to analysis to talk through her problems and believes it helped overcome her "narcissism", a personality disorder characterised by excessive self-absorption.