Talk about possibilities. Within a year, Carla Bruni went from being dumped by her son's father to marrying the dashing Nicolas Sarkozy and becoming the First Lady of France.
Even she giggles at the amazing turn of events. In interviews with Barbara Walters and Vanity Fair, France's femme fatale shared her secrets for divorce diplomacy and how she juggles a blended family, a recording career, her job as First Lady and a colorful past.
Among the Italian heiress's ex-lovers, and current pals, are Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, French singer Julien Clerc, and director Leos Carax -- who produced the video of her CD "Quelqu'un m'a dit" ("Someone Told Me"). Her new CD, "Comme Si de Rien N'Etait" ("As if Nothing Happened") will hit U.S. stores tomorrow and includes English songs.
How can the former model and chanteuse be such good friends with so many exes?
The chiseled beauty with a je ne sais quoi shrug points out that time really does heal all wounds and gain us some perspective.
"Sometimes the desire, the passion, makes you fight, but when that goes completely, you have only the good part of it," she told Vanity Fair.
And what about the pesky problem of having all the exes around?
"It's not that I had a lot of lovers," she said. "It's that I never hide them. I think it would be a very bad sign to deny. Everything with denying is sick."
Well one can't deny that she knows how to cast a spell on the public. Since Sarkozy and Bruni married earlier this year, his popularity ratings have soared while she's being called France's Jackie O.
And she has made history by being the first First Lady to arrive at a state function to meet the Queen of England and -- quelle horreur -- to have nude photos of herself surface and be plastered throughout the Internet.
Remember, there is no denying nonchalance. Works every time.
She points out that she's proud of the shots that are "artistic" and taken by such artists as Steven Meisel and Helmut Newton.
Not surprisingly, the British loved her as has everyone else. What did her husband say when he saw the pictures? "He wanted one," she said, with a knowing laugh.
With her blue eyes fluttering seductively, Bruni-Sarkozy told Barbara Walters matter of factly that people shouldn't have regrets about their past.
"I don't feel ashamed about my life and what I've done," she said. "I made a lot of mistakes but every time I made a mistake I learned something from it."
"I have a past and I don't think it's shocking," she added. "I think it would be shocking for me to pretend not to have a past."
The photos were taken 15 years ago when she was an international model. She is now 40.
Her songs about orgies and drugs were written prior to meeting Sarkozy, but she didn't delete them from her CD.
Mais oui, one does not erase the past just because you are now married to the French president. Her role as a working First Lady should allow her to be the artiste, including using lyrics about Colombian cocaine that upset a Colombian politician.
Note to self for next CD: Maybe fewer lyrics about orgies and drugs. Everything else, très charmant.
Bruni-Sarkozy admits it was a hard time when, last September, she became a single mom, living with 7-year-old son Aurelin, "sharing time, sharing holidays, preparing my son for his first serious school."
Her boyfriend, Raphael Enthoven, a professor of philosophy, had called it quits right around her 40th birthday -- jamais bon. She met Sarkozy at a dinner party in November, and pow! They had what the French call a coup de foudre -- a thunderbolt, love at first sight.
By February they were married.
Prior to meeting Bruni, Nicolas Sarkozy had been twice divorced: first from Marie-Dominique with whom he had two sons, Pierre and Jean, and then from Cecilia, a former friend of Marie-Dominique's, with whom he has a 10-year-old son, Louis.
When Cecilia divorced her husband, at the start of his presidency, the drama created world headlines. A dating President was not what the French had in mind. Nor a sad one. (Cecilia had left Sarkozy in 2005 to live with Richard Atlas; a month after Sarkozy married Bruni, Cecilia married Atlas.)
Bruni was his salvation.
"He suffered," she explained to Walters. "Divorce feels like a failure to a human being. And I hope I make him happy."
Yes she does. In fact, they make each other very happy, which is why love after some experience can be the most satisfying as we say here at www.firstwivesworld.com.
During the week, the French president resides at Bruni-Sarkozy's home with her son, Aurelin, and on weekends they go to the Élysée, the French version of the White House, where her stepsons visit.
While she is friends already with Marie-Dominique, she hopes one day to have civil relations with Cecilia as well.
"I don't believe in cutting out people from the past," she told Vanity Fair. "It doesn't give strength, it just gives loneliness."
As of now, France is a country where the head of state is living in a blended family. As Nicolas Sarkozy told Vanity Fair, "I am happy like nev-air."
So are we to have such an interesting French First Lady.
This article first appeared in www.firstwivesworld.com