Carla Bruni: ‘I just look ugly. Having children when you’re older is not easy’

Carla Bruni is the ex-First Lady of France. I feel kind of bad for her, because I think she enjoyed being FLOF and because I think Nicolas Sarkozy got a raw deal on the media coverage of his personal life when it turns out that his successor François Hollande had just as much – if not more – girl drama. Still, that doesn’t help Carla that much. She spent the year of Sarko’s presidential tenure pregnant and then as a second-time-around 40-something mother to a baby girl (and she really wanted a boy, and she was vocal about it too). So Carla sat down with Vanity Fair to talk about media coverage of her pregnancy, politics and babies.

“They say, ‘She’s fat.’ They get really nasty. Nothing is out of bounds,” Carla Bruni tells Vanity Fair’s Maureen Orth in the June issue about how she was criticized in the press for her appearance immediately following the birth of her daughter, Giulia. Bruni, who tells Orth she was particularly stung by these comments, states, “It was a very fragile moment in my life. I’m kind of tall, with good-size shoulders, and when I am 40 pounds overweight, I don’t even look fat—I just look ugly. Having children when you’re older is not easy.”

Forced to balance the constant campaign appearances with the needs of her newborn, Bruni says, “I was dead. Breast-feeding the little girl, waking up every two hours at night because she was hungry. And then during the day following my man. Exactly at the time of my life when I would beg not to be photographed. It becomes like a war.”

When Orth mentions Bruni’s having made headlines for leaving the Élysée Palace for the last time wearing a nondescript pantsuit and T-shirt that caused speculation that she was subtly telegraphing, “Good riddance. I’ve had it,” Bruni responds, “Not at all. Those were the only pants I could get into!”

Being a mother at 43 may have been difficult, but Bruni proudly shows Orth a picture of Giulia.

“She is so Sarkozy,” she says. “Nicolas has found his master. I think between our age and the fact that she’s a girl, we’re both melting, basically, you know?”

“That’s crazy,” Bruni tells Orth in response to rumors that Bruni would leave Sarkozy once he was no longer in power. In fact, Bruni states, the opposite is actually true, “because power was one of the problems that we had to face together. Power is not a pleasure. It makes you vulnerable.”

She continues, “Power is brutal, and you have to be very structured inside to cope with power without getting blown away.” Bruni, who describes her style as First Lady as “laid-back” and “non-interfering,” says she “never used that power I was supposed to have, not even one day.”

Bruni tells Orth the only times she ever actively involved herself was to “help people sometimes—when people asked me for help, people who were in hospitals or in difficult situations.”

In response to the rumors that she was angry and resentful when her husband lost the election and that she believed people had let him down, Bruni responds, “I don’t think anger is a solution . . . . You can’t get married to a man like Nicolas, being in the position I was when I married him, without having to face brutality and violence. But it’s a very strange type of brutality, because it’s only related to your image, not to yourself.”

Bruni says she took her cue from Sarkozy, who remained undaunted after he lost the election. “On May 7, the day after the election, he said, ‘O.K., let’s travel, and then I’m going to learn to speak English.’ And I said, ‘We’re half dead. We should rest,’ and he said no, no, no, he didn’t need to.”

Bruni says she is still in therapy—“[d]ouble the doses,” she playfully tells Orth. “I think I will be there until I die.” Bruni believes therapy is all about taking responsibility and tells Orth, “If we talk now and we disagree, for instance, there’s nothing I can do about you disagreeing, right? I can try to convince you, but there is nothing I can do. But there is something I can do about me.”

She continues, “It brings me to lucidity, because there’s nothing I can do to change someone else, but there is something I can do to change myself. And I like this type of work because with aging, if there is no philosophy, there’s no serenity, there’s no wisdom, there’s nothing but falling apart. Wrinkles without wisdom are boring. I want to become mature. I want to become wise.”

When Orth asks whether Bruni hopes to return to the Élysée Palace, Bruni responds, “Neither my choice nor my opinion counts in such a matter.” She continues, “It’s very much up first of all to France and then to my husband and to my husband’s work, to my husband’s life. I can only follow him.”

[From Vanity Fair]

I thought Carla made a very attractive pregnant woman, and I remember feeling bad for her when I saw all of the photos of Carla campaigning with Sarko just after she had given birth. It must have been a difficult time for her. It makes me sort of wistful too… it would be fun to have a FLOTUS who was still having babies in the White House. As for all of the other stuff… I think Sarko will run again, right? Especially if people get sick of François Hollande and his girl drama – but is his girl drama even a big story in France? I don’t know. And admitting that she’ll spend the rest of her life in therapy… well, that’s not something an American First Lady would be able to admit.

Photos courtesy of Vanity Fair and WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

55 Responses to “Carla Bruni: ‘I just look ugly. Having children when you’re older is not easy’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Emily says:

    J’adore Carla! Sarko, il est ennuyeux…

  2. Bird says:

    She sounds like an interesting and self aware woman. I really like her and feel for her after reading this interview.

  3. fabgrrl says:

    Oh c’mon, Carla! You’re gorgeous and you know it.

  4. Latisse says:

    Wikepedia this woman, she is used to be a crazy and self centered biznatch, who broke up several marriages, stole several boyfriends, like she is not a nice person. If she is feeling old, wrinkly and less attractive now, it is only karma for being a massive C U Next Tuesday her entire life!

  5. Loulou says:

    She wasn’t nice to other women, Justine Lévy case in point. You’d expect her to have a thicker skin. Well, actually she now literally does…

  6. Cerulean Skygirl says:

    Wahhh wahhh wahhh. This woman has had a successful career, she has a beautiful, healthy child, is happily married, and has enough money to afford a lavish lifestyle. Please stop complaining about feeling “ugly”. Some women have to work “real” jobs for minimum wage or barely enough money to afford a home and/or food, DON’T get to take ANY vacations and can’t afford to spend THOUSANDS of dollars on hair and skin treatments.

    It’s very ANNOYING when wealthy women bitch and moan about aging, and doesn’t garner much sympathy from the general population (regardless of which country we live in).

  7. Jess says:

    Sarkozy is a horrible, tacky little man with sickeningly xenophobic policies. His relationship with Carla made him interesting to the US but it only hurt him (and her) in France.

    Carla just makes me sad these days. She basically threw away any and all ideals she had for Sarkozy. Also the plastic surgery is just getting disturbing at this point. She may as well walk around with a mask of his ex-wife’s face on.

    • JaneFr says:

      Well, it mostly hurt her. She changed political side to marry him and gossip magazine spoke a lot about her not so clean love history.
      Him ? No, here, girl drama is no drama. We like to know what they do in private, must mosly it’s their private life and of no much influence on our view of their work.

  8. embertine says:

    Do you mean successor?

  9. Nan209 says:

    Can’t a woman just be a woman – bearing a child into the world ain’t exactly easy – without backlash? No woman deserves to be called fat while pregnant or after pregnancy. Pregnancy can be brutal on a woman’s body.

    I had a horrible pregnancy and birthing experience. I was exhausted before my little man made into the world. He had a tough start medically – we both did. I can’t imagine going through all that and having the media call me fat. This world can be just so cruel. Then we wonder why bullying is an issue and girls are anorexic. *eye roll*

  10. Tig says:

    Aside from the comments above- her quote ” those were the only pants I could get in to!” made me LOL! Anyone who has ever given birth can relate to that! I really wish a moratorium could be declared on taking pics of new moms for at least 6 mths- if not that-then at least 6 wks.

  11. Wizard says:

    Hey, Carla – you know what’s harder than being an older mom? Not being able to have children at all. Shaddup, please. Also, most new moms of any age work all day and take care of their babies at night. Being a mother at ANY age is hard work. Look at it this way: you had several party-hearty decades to enjoy before you joined the club.

    • Marigold says:

      Amen. Some people bounce back but they are usually in their early 20s. There are no guarantees. Everyone has a hard time feeling/looking good after pregnancy. Sucks she had to do it in the spotlight but it is what it is. My sympathy/empathy is fleeting.

  12. Ravensdaughter says:

    Boo-hoo-hoo-please don’t ask me to feel sorry for this woman of privilege, especially during these hard times, here and abroad..
    Oh, and she wanted a boy and got a girl-I assume her daughter will hear about that in the future-tacky.

    • Marigold says:

      Yeah, seriously, if you’re going to say you wanted a boy and not a girl, you better qualify that statement with that you couldn’t be happier to be expecting a girl.

      • Ravensdaughter says:

        Looks like Carla ‘s actively campaigning to fix that slip:

        Being a mother at 43 may have been difficult, but Bruni proudly shows Orth a picture of Giulia.

        “She is so Sarkozy,” she says. “Nicolas has found his master. I think between our age and the fact that she’s a girl, we’re both melting, basically, you know?”
        Wow, all I can say is I hope Giulia doesn’t get Sarko’s used-car salesman features-you know-like how the first two Willis girls got Bruce’s chin?

  13. mkyarwood says:

    I don’t see the ugly she’s talking about. What I do see, tho, is a refreshingly ‘normal’ mid forties face, far too airbrushed for no reason.

  14. BooBooLaRue says:

    She needs to read the post on Janice Dickinson…maybe stop with the fillers.

  15. Fleurthefrenchy says:

    politically, ideologically, artistically, romantically…. I would use two words to describe her: two-faced and turncoat.

    She, like so many other celebs, was desperately trying to stay relevant and found a much more efficient way to do so than the traditional reality TV show/sex tape/scandal way: she married Sarko.

    But I’ll admit it, she used to be smoking hot… before all the botox that is…

  16. serena says:

    If only she’d avoided plastic surgery instead of looking like a kat-face monster. ugh

  17. lambchops says:

    It must be tough being a French chick postpartum and expected to look slim and wonderful.

  18. TG says:

    I love reading about Carla. I am not French or Italian so maybe my opinion doesn’t matter and I don’t know if she is good or bad but her interviews are awesome. Can’t wait for my Vanity Fair to arrive. In fact a lengthy interview with her 5 years ago is what got me hooked on Vanity Fair. I just love reading about Europeans. Somehow their affairs, scandals, drama just seems so magical. I wish our celebrity magazines and blogs focused more on what the Europens were up to. They are so much more fun to to read about than LiLo and that She-Man.

    • molly says:

      I agree, much more interesting that waity katy and booooooring wills !!

      At least Carla looks after her baby, unlike waity katy will !!

      What’s the betting waity katy will be too posh to push and develop some mysterious ailment and have to have a cesarian !!

  19. KellyinSeattle says:

    Sad/tacky that she wanted a girl…my son is the 16th boy in a row on my side of the family, and family members have even had procedures to get a girl, but in the end, please, everyone, be happy with what God gives you!!

    • molly says:

      Not sad or tacky. She did in fact state in a TV interview that she didn’t mind what her baby was as long as it was healthy. That was the media who gave that information, never listen to that ever, at one time she was supposed to be having twins !!

  20. lisa2 says:

    I think women that are about their looks focus so much on their looks. But women that have something of substance outside what they see in mirror are more comfortable.

    I hate when call themselves ugly.

  21. Sojourner says:

    I didn’t know much about her before this piece except that she was a model. Not knowing the stuff she’s pulled in the past that other commenters referred to, this piece makes me like her. (And people can change, right?) It just makes me sad that she thinks being 40lb or whatever overweight makes her “ugly.” The standard by which she’s judging herself is so exacting and unforgiving.

  22. RobN says:

    I don’t think therapy can help you with that sort of bang trauma.

  23. sally says:

    She refers to her daughter as “the little girl.” Sounds kind of… odd.

  24. Myrto says:

    “I think Sarko will run again, right?”
    Good lord. Please, no.
    And referring to Hollande’s “girl drama” as if that’s all there is (much more complicated than that)and those-silly women-really-can’t-behave-can-they argument is just ugh.
    As for Carla, I don’t care much. I don’t mind her I guess but this American fascination with her just baffles me.

    • ruby says:

      THIS, so much. Plus, I can’t believe there is no mention of her very obvious (and alien looking) plastic surgery in the article. Why avoid the elephant in the room ?

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Whatever one’s stance on the phrase ‘girl drama’ being used to refer to the romantic intrigue portion of this PR shit monsoon, as far as *drama* goes this is pretty dramatic. I’m sure David Petraeus is out there somewhere thinking to himself, ‘And I thought *I* fornicated with the wrong psycho.’ Maybe in another lifetime,’Normal’ will wonder, ‘What Would Mitterand Do?’

  25. Patrice says:

    Carla Bruni looks “ugly”-no, make that hideous-now because she ruined her once breathtakingly gorgeous face with an insane amount of bad plastic surgery, Botox and fillers. NOT because she had a baby later in life. God. What a thing to blame on your kids in any capacity!

  26. KayKay says:

    She used to date Mick Jagger, and he said some awful things about her.

  27. Scarlet Pimpernel says:

    I’m just waiting for her to split with Sarko, now that she’s no longer in the lime light … Carla is all about the lime light … hence why she didn’t want a daughter … how galling it will be as she ages and she stares at aspects of her beautiful younger self. She is not ageing gracefully – note the over-botoxing. Catherine Deneuve she is not.