“Never again,” he promised. I am naive. I believed it ‘
When the phone rings at 2 o’clock in the morning, “it is always the sign of a disaster”, writes Anne Sinclair in her memoir, PastÃ© Composed, published this week by Grasset in Paris.
On the night of May 14, 2011, Sinclair was in Paris, awaiting the arrival of her then-husband Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was director of the International Monetary Fund. His stepdaughter Camille rang the bell in the middle of the night to say that Strauss-Kahn, known by his initials DSK, had been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a maid at the Sofitel in Manhattan.
âAt the time, I couldn’t imagine for a second that the accusation was true,â Sinclair writes. “The only explanation that seems plausible to me is that of consensual sex.”
Sinclair has been silent for 10 years after the scandal. This week, she was on the cover of Elle and Paris-Match magazines, and gave numerous radio and television interviews. She says a Netflix movie and DSK’s announcement that it will be giving its own side of events prompted her to speak out. “I couldn’t let others speak for me anymore.” She didn’t say it all, she says, but everything she said is true.
The book chronicles Sinclair’s life, from her birth in New York City to a wealthy Jewish family that had fled the Nazi occupation of France, until she describes her as her happy and serene present, a month before her 73rd birthday. anniversary. She knew when she wrote it that most readers would immediately turn to Chapter 13, titled “The Impossible Chapter,” her version of the Sofitel scandal and the collapse of her 20-year marriage to Strauss-Kahn.
Sinclair says she wanted to dispel two misconceptions: that she was aware of her husband’s sex addiction and that he and she were devoured by the ambition to become president and first lady of France. When the scandal broke in May 2011, DSK was about to announce his candidacy for the 2012 presidential election.
As Sinclair prepared to travel to New York to support her wandering husband, her hands were shaking so badly that she couldn’t button her own clothes. For months, she could not bring herself to watch the video of the famous “perp walk” where DSK paraded in handcuffs in front of the press.
When she arrives in New York, Sinclair learns that Strauss-Kahn is imprisoned on Riker’s Island, “America’s most sordid prison,” and faces a 30-year prison sentence. “I’m overwhelmed. It’s hard to believe this is not a movie, that my 20 year old husband is accused of the heinous crime of rape. I can only support him. My heart is in tatters and my head is in vice.
Sinclair calls the scandal a “cataclysm” and “the earthquake that devastated my life.” She dismisses rumors that she allowed her husband to become sex addicted and even participated in his orgies. “It was all completely foreign to me, like the adventures I discovered after the fact,” she told Paris Match.
As a journalist herself, Sinclair understands the explosive social dimension of the scandal, which has made headlines in 150,000 newspapers around the world. She sums it up as âa rich, powerful, white man is accused by a poor, black, immigrant womanâ.
I couldn’t risk displeasing him. I was afraid of the discord, of his anger
In retrospect, Sinclair says she can’t believe her own blindness. âDominique never confessed. If I had suspicions, he calmed them down or made me look ridiculous and embarrassed. Whenever he suddenly turned off his phone, changed the page on his computer, or came home late from a meeting, he always had a good reason.
When it was revealed in 2008 that Strauss-Kahn was having an affair with a Hungarian IMF economist, âhe swore to God that this was his first infidelity in 18 years of marriage. Never again, he promised. I am naive. I believed him. Or I wanted to believe it.
Before marrying Strauss-Kahn in 1991, Sinclair was one of France’s best-known radio and television journalists, renowned for her intelligence and good looks. In 1989, the mayors of France had chosen her to embody “Marianne”, the symbol of the republic whose effigy appears on the postage stamps and busts of each town hall. Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve were his predecessors. âFor the little Jewish girl that I am, it was a huge source of pride,â she says.
Sinclair was an heiress of art and a famous journalist when Strauss-Kahn was still a little-known professor of economics. Still, she was hungry for his approval. âNo matter what I did, he wasn’t impressed. He was stingy with compliments, âshe wrote. She was hurt that he didn’t seem to be watching his prime-time TV show. When he was appointed Minister, he thought it was “natural and painless” for her to give up her TV show to avoid the perception of conflict of interest.
It was the SMS messages in which Strauss-Kahn called the call girls hired for him âgearâ and âfreebiesâ that convinced Sinclair to end the marriage.
Sinclair says his relationship with Strauss-Kahn was one of sway, that is, one of hold, influence, or control. âEveryone thought I was strong, free and independent. I have interviewed heads of state from all over the world. I managed the family budget. I made decisions on my own. But she unconsciously reproduced the relationship she had had with her mother with her husband. âI couldn’t risk displeasing him. I was afraid of discord, of his anger. The hold can be sexual or intellectual. For me, it was moving.
Sinclair posted $ 6 million bail for Strauss-Kahn and rented a $ 50,000-per-month townhouse in Tribeca, where they lived for several months behind closed curtains. He then refunded most of the money to her. He has since married his fourth wife, Moroccan businesswoman Miriam L’Aouffir.
Amount not disclosed
DSK and Sinclair never talked about what happened. They reached an amicable settlement for an undisclosed sum with Nafissatou Diallo, the maid, and returned to Paris. Strauss-Kahn soon warns Sinclair that “another story is going to be out in the press, nothing at all, really.” Sinclair reads in Le Monde about the alleged Carlton scandal, in which businessmen who wanted to curry favor with the man they hoped to become the next president of France organized 15 orgies for his benefit, in Lille , Paris and Washington DC. In June 2015, Strauss-Kahn would be cleared of âaggravating procuringâ in the Carlton scandal.
It was the text messages in which Strauss-Kahn called the call girls hired for him âgearâ and âgiftsâ that convinced Sinclair to end the marriage. “My astonishment at this new episode was as complete as it had been in New York,” she wrote. âI have been criticized, not without reason, for staying with him. I could have, I should have left him.
Sinclair is a survivor. Since the divorce, she has written four books, including two on the experiences of her Jewish grandfathers during World War II, one on the 2017 presidential election campaign, and now her memoir. She has presented political and cultural radio and television programs and founded a French version of the online newspaper Huffington Post.
Above all, Sinclair attributes her “rebirth” to the love story she began in 2012 with Pierre Nora, a highly respected historian and member of the AcadÃ©mie franÃ§aise. They hadn’t seen each other for over 20 years. Nora’s wife had recently passed away. âIt was a miracle that two injured people, aged 64 and 80, found enough strength and desire to create a new existence, with youthful joy,â she writes. âI still feel like a young bride, even though I know time is limited.