The martyred wife

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Reviewed on 06/6/2011 | 1 Review

Portraits

Who's Anne Sinclair, the loyal wife behind DSK?

She was a star in France long before her second husband, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, made headlines: Anne Sinclair is her name. And whatever happens to him, she is standing behind him. She is backing him, walking at his side. A beautiful woman, proud and betrayed.
Photo: © AFP, Stan Honda

From the outside, it’s difficult to imagine the impact Anne Sinclair has in France. She used to be a star here, a brilliant journalist, a woman who counts. Over years and years she hosted 7/7, a weekly  political show, with more than 12 million viewers every Sunday evening. Her interviews were famous not only because of her witty questions but also for her steely blue eyes and her legendary angora jumpers. She was charm personified. A wolf in a sheep’s clothing.

Prince Charles, Mitterrand, Gorbachev, Clinton and Madonna, she had them all on her show. One day it happened to be Dominique Strauss-Kahn. It was back in 1989. Love at the first sight. They both quit their partners and families and got married within two years. Ironically, they got married with a bust of her as Marianne modeled from her, the star, in the city hall. This is just to give you an idea about how beautiful and famous she really was.

DSK: better don't look at me! Photo: AFP, David Lillo

A model of integrity

But Sinclair was a model of integrity, too. As soon as DSK became finance minister in 1997, she quit her show. After his nomination as the managing director of the FMI, Sinclair  worked on another project: supporting his career and supporting him as a candidate for the French presidency. And everything was on course.

Early this year, polls showed that a majority of French people wanted her, Anne Sinclair, as the first lady. She was twice as popular as Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. But this was before the pregnancy of the latter and before the legendary crash of her husband.

Picasso’s friend

Until recently, only a few people in France knew that Sinclair was extremely rich, too. Born in New York as Anne-Elise Schwartz, she is the daughter of Joseph-Robert Schwartz, a French Jew who fled from the Nazis to New York, and who later changed his name into the one he used during Resistance: Sinclair. Her Grandfather was none other than Paul Rosenberg, the art-dealer and friend of Picasso. After the death of her mother, Sinclair inheritated an inestimable collection of paintings. She just gave a portrait of her mother, Micheline Nanette Rosenberg, called Michou, to the Picasso Museum in Paris.

Her revenge on history?

Somehow, people in France think that Sinclair wanted to prove something. She wanted to show, that 75 years after Léon Blum the French were capable of electing a Jew as their president. They say she wanted her revenge on history. But she failed to reckon with her husband who once said, asked about his sore point for running a presidency: the money, the women and him being a Jew.

Everybody here is asking the same question: why does this brilliant woman stay with this man? Compared to her situation, the case of Hillary Clinton looks like a piece of cake. Dominique Strauss-Kahn did not only cheat on her more or less openly, in this special case his adultery is worsened by extraordinary criminal charges of attempted rape. But there she is, doing the impossible, her head raised as if she wanted to show to the world what she wrote in her official release: “I don’t believe for a single second the accusations of sexual assault by my husband.” And she added: “I’m certain his innocence will be proven.”

Like the first day

Is it true love or just submissiveness? When Sinclair arrived today on the arm of her husband at the Manhattan State Supreme Court, how could she bare the screams of the women dressed as hotel maids and shouting “shame on you”? Last time, when DSK had to defend himself after having an affair with a married Hungarian economist, Piroska Nagy, Sinclair quickly turned the page and wrote on her blog “Two or three things seen from America”: “this kind of thing can happen to any couple”, and: “We love each other like the first day.”

In French newspapers a lot of her friends have been questioned, how could this brilliant women possibly stand behind her skirt-chasing man for all these years? At the very beginning she pretended to be “even proud of it“: “It’s important to seduce for a politician.”

Shot in denial

And when close friends warned her about her husband being a “randy sod”, she preferred to shut herself in denial. “Her choice has always been that of passionate solidarity with him”, said Alain Duhamel, a famous French journalist and friend of hers.

As intelligent, influential and rich she might be: nothing has prepared Sinclair for the kind of purgatory she has entered since her husband’s arrest on board of an Air France flight. But there is one advantage now: as long as her husband is under house arrest, it will be impossible for him to cheat on her. There are no swinger clubs, no escort girls. Even the room maids are male. Maybe the best time of their marriage has only just begun.

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The martyred wife, 3.7 out of 5 based on 6 ratings

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  1. Muriel 7 June 2011 Reply

    The ending of the article made me laugh : this is exactly what crossed my mind when I got to know that DSK would be alone with his wife only, for many many months…

    I have another hypothesis about her standing by him like this : “orgueil”. Pride. She does not want to admit that she has been wrong for all these years… To leave him now would mean that she is finally convinced that he betrayed her, deeply, and that she made a terrible mistake when she married him. And being wrong cannot happen to the beautiful and clever star she has always been, even in her school days…

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