Her childhood has more in common with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis than most people realize with a privilege family background but who is Carla Bruni Sarkozy? Some of the media can not resist comparing the new first lady of France not only to Jackie O but to Diana Spenser Windsor aka Princess of Wales. Although she is only 40, she has lived a fascinating life filled with only what many of us dream about in a relatively short period.
Is she just fluff as the media and paparazzi portray her as or has she much more substance to her? To answer this question you will have to examine her life and judge for yourself.
Born Carla Bruni-Tedeschi, on December 23, 1968 in Turin, Italy she was part of one of the wealthiest industrial families of northern Italy. Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi was a classical composer and her mother, Marysa Borini, was a celebrated concert pianist. Her sister, Valeria, became an accomplished actress and film director.
She grew up believing she was the daughter of the Italian tire magnate and manufacturing company CEAT the second-most important Italian rubber company Years later, her parents informed Carla she was the product of her mother’s affair with a violinist 13 years younger. Bruni-Tedeschi had accepted this indiscretion and raised Carla as his own child.
The tire company was founded by her grandfather Virginio Bruni Tedeschi and sold by her father Alberto in the 1970s to Pirelli, which now makes Carla and her sisters’ heirs. Soon after when Carla was 5, the family moved to France to escape the wave of murders and kidnappings of politicians and industrialists by Italy’s left-wing Red Brigades terrorist group.
The Bruni-Tedeschis lived between Paris and their southern estate on the Cote d’Azur, near the presidential retreat. Bruni’s mother, similar to Jackie O’s mother, was always encouraging her children to make the right connections and pushed them to befriend the Grimaldi children, Albert, Caroline and Stephanie of Monaco. Within her home as a child, she took part in “sing-a-longs” with family friends such as Maria Callas and Herbert von Karajan.
The millionaire Italian heiress, whose upbringing was far more glamorous than most others, was sent off to attend a boarding school in Switzerland. She eventually returned to Paris to study art and architecture, but left school at the age of 19 to become a model as a full-time career.
Bruni signed with City Models at age 19 and her career began. She has been the Guess jean girl and subsequently worked for a number of couture designers and fashion houses, such as Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Yves Saint-Laurent, Chanel, Versace, and others. As one of the highest paid models in the 1990s, Carla was reported to earn $7.5 million a year.
Like most high profile models, she attracted the usual suspects of men, who looked for a beautiful woman to display on their arm as a trophy. It is reported that she has dated Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Kevin Costner and Donald Trump. “Love lasts a long time, but burning desire – two to three weeks”, so said Carla in an interview about her escapades. Unlike the models of their time, Carla was well versed and intelligent and would sneak in a copy of Keats to read while having her hair done before a runway show.
By 1997, Bruni quit the world of fashion, to devote herself to music. It was a natural transformation from being surrounded by a musical family as a child. Her debut album was released in 2002, Someone Told Me, was produced by ex-lover Louis Bertignac, with major success in France. Although given to just fair reviews, the disc gained a word-of-mouth following and became a cult hit with more than two million sales in Europe.
Her second album, No Promises containing poems by Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Auden, Dorothy Parker, Walter de la Mare, and Christina Rosetti, set to music, was released in a few years later. Carla’s albums are released by the French independent record label Naive and can be found in English versions.
Besides traveling worldwide and having her photo everywhere, she also participated in the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics, in a parade section paying tribute to the Italian flag.
At the end of 2007, Bruni was reported to be in a relationship with French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Reporters followed them everywhere and became annoying to Sarkozy who values his private life as private. They married on February 2, 2008 at the Elysee Palace in Paris causing a world wide stir. Carla has long been listed among the world’s most beautiful women. At the present, her every step is reported from taste in fashion to her demure smile.
Thing began to simmer down and then on Friday, April 11, 2008, it was confirmed that Christie’s auction house auctioned a 1993 nude photograph of Carla Bruni for $91,000, exceeding more than twenty times the expected price.
With all this excitement and controversy surrounding France’s First Lady, there will only be much to follow in the future.