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Profile: Carla Bruni

4 February 08 11:29 GMT

France's new First Lady, supermodel-turned-pop-star Carla Bruni, is used to the limelight.

She was born in Turin in 1967. Her mother was a concert pianist and her father a composer and heir to the CEAT tyre fortune.

Her older sister is the Italian actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.

In the early 1970s, when Red-Brigade militants threatened to kidnap Italy's rich and famous, the family relocated to France.

While still in her teens, Carla Bruni began modelling for top fashion houses.

By 1990, she was among the world's highest-paid models.

She went on to date a string of rock stars, actors and sundry glitterati.

Her list of former lovers is said to include Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Kevin Costner, Vincent Perez, Donald Trump and former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius.

She told Le Figaro Madame magazine last year that she became easily "bored with monogamy", adding: "Love lasts a long time, but burning desire - two to three weeks."

Femme fatale?

In 2001, while living with the French writer Jean-Paul Enthoven, Bruni began an affair with his son Raphael - a budding philosopher who was 10 years her junior.

The affair broke the younger Enthoven's marriage with another scion of the French intelligentsia Justine Levy, daughter of the even more famous philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy.

Ms Levy's revenge took a literary form. In 2004 she published a successful novel, entitled Nothing Serious, about a young woman whose husband is stolen by a brazen femme fatale with "a Terminator smile".

In 2001, Bruni had a son with Raphael Enthoven. They have since separated.

By the late 1990s, Bruni had left the world of fashion. Drawing on both her contacts and her musical family roots, she re-invented herself as a singer.

In 2002 her debut album - produced by top musician Jean-Louis Bertignac, another ex-lover - was a hit.

Her second album was released in early 2007. She has sold a total of two million records.

Open secret

Bruni's relationship with French President Nicolas Sarkozy began a few weeks after he divorced his second wife in October.

They are believed to have met at a social-political function, and did not go out of their way to hide the liaison.

By mid-December, French media were abuzz with rumours about the couple. Shortly before Christmas, they were spotted together strolling though Disneyland Paris.

The affair was officially confirmed when Mr Sarkozy and Bruni spent holidays in the Middle East with a bevy of journalists and photographers in tow.

In early January the president said the two were "serious" about each other, suggesting that a wedding was on the cards - but he did not say when.

In the following weeks, the French press reported that they might already have tied the knot secretly.

But confirmation finally came from the man who married them, mayor Francois Lebel, who told French radio on 2 February that the bride wore white and looked "ravishing, as usual".

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