Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (born Carla Gilberta Bruni Tedeschi, 23 December 1967) is an Italian-born, naturalized French songwriter, singer, and former model. She is currently the First Lady of France, after marrying French President Nicolas Sarkozy in February 2008.
Carla Gilberta Bruni Tedeschi was born in Turin, Italy, and is heiress to the fortune created by the Italian tyre manufacturing company CEAT, founded in the 1920s by her grandfather Virginio Bruni Tedeschi. The company was sold in the 1970s to Pirelli (the brand lives on via its former subsidiary in India, founded in 1958). The family moved to France in 1975, reportedly to escape the threat of kidnapping by the Red Brigades, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist group active in Italy in the 1970s. Bruni grew up in France from age seven and attended boarding school in Switzerland. She went to Paris to study art and architecture, but left school at 19 to become a model.
Though she is legally a daughter of Italian concert pianist Marisa Borini and industrialist and classical composer Alberto Bruni Tedeschi, Bruni-Sarkozy revealed to Vanity Fair in 2008 that her biological father is an Italian, naturalized Brazilian grocery magnate Maurizio Remmert, who, as a young classical guitarist, had a six-year affair with her mother. Her sister is actress and movie director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. She also had a brother, Virginio Bruni Tedeschi (1959 – 4 July 2006), who died from complications of HIV/AIDS.
From her biological father, she has a sister, Consuelo Remmer.
First lady of France
Following her marriage to Sarkozy, in February 2008, Bruni-Sarkozy continued accompanying him on state visits, including to the United Kingdom in March 2008, which created a sensation in the international press and the public in the UK and France.
There was controversy on the eve of the state visit to the UK, with the publication by Christie’s auction house of a nude photograph of Bruni taken during her career as a model. The photograph sold for $91,000. There was also great interest in Bruni’s wardrobe, which was Christian Dior, seen as a diplomatic choice, being a French design house designed by John Galliano, a British designer. Another controversy was the use of a popular photo of the French President and Bruni in the print advertising of Ryanair. The couple was awarded damages by a French court which they donated to Les Restos du Cœur, an organisation which provides meals to the homeless.
Bruni-Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama in August 2008 at a Buddhist temple on a hill in Languedoc, France. Another important event for Bruni was the reception of Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to France in September 2008. Bruni visited New York City in September 2008 with her husband, where she attended a meeting on poverty and female mortality with Queen Rania and Wendi Murdoch, met for lunch with First Lady Laura Bush at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Symposium on Advancing Global Literacy and attended the General Assembly in the UN with her husband.
In December 2008, Bruni sued the makers of a bag featuring a nude shot of the French first lady taken during her supermodelling youth. Clothes designer Pardon has produced 10,000 of the shopping bags emblazoned with the nude photo taken in 1993, showing Bruni staring at the camera with her crossed hands covering her crotch.
In April 2009, Carla was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Carlos III on the occasion of the couple’s Spanish State Visit.
She has been critical of Pope Benedict XVI on the controversial topic of religion and AIDS.