[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
French president and wife divorce
Mr and Mrs Sarkozy at a garden party at the Lycee
The couple's public appearances together have grown rarer
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife of 11 years, Cecilia, have divorced "by mutual consent", according to a statement from the Elysee Palace.

The presidency's statement clarified an earlier announcement that they were to separate.

"What is intended by the word separation is divorce," it said.

The couple's lawyer said they had seen a judge to formalise the split and "there was no problem, they resolved everything amicably".

Speculation that they were to split had been mounting for months, with the media remarking on Cecilia Sarkozy's absence from her husband's side.

Cecilia Sarkozy has had a successful career as a model and parliamentary aide and has said that she never wanted to be a traditional first lady.

Both were already divorcees when they married each other in 1996, with two children each from their previous marriages.

Cecilia Sarkozy

They have a 10-year-old son together, Louis.

Cecilia Sarkozy was once one of her husband's closest political advisers.

They have had a turbulent relationship and were separated for several months in 2005, when Cecilia went to live in New York with an advertising executive.

Though reconciled afterwards, the couple did not appear in public as often as was expected as Mr Sarkozy's presidential campaign gathered steam.

She did not vote in the second round of the presidential election and did not accompany him on a recent trip to Bulgaria - despite the fact that in July she had unexpectedly negotiated the release of Bulgarian medics imprisoned in Libya.

This summer she failed to accompany her husband to a picnic lunch hosted by US President George W Bush and last weekend she was again absent from her husband's side at France's Rugby World Cup match against England.

"I don't see myself as a first lady. It bores me. I'm not politically correct," she said two years ago.

The divorce announcement came on a testing day for Mr Sarkozy, 52, as France was paralysed by a one-day public transport strike.

His rival in the presidential election, Socialist leader Segolene Royal, has also separated from her partner Francois Hollande, the father of her four children. Their break-up came soon after her election defeat in May.

Footage of Sarkozy and his wife before their split

Media question Sarkozy marriage
17 Oct 07 |  Europe
Profile: Cecilia Sarkozy
17 Oct 07 |  Europe
Profile: Nicolas Sarkozy
16 May 07 |  Europe

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific