Last updated at 22:54pm on 24th November 2007 Comments (2)She is arguably the most beautiful star of French television and, until a few weeks ago, was one half of a hugely glamorous power couple presenting cutting-edge documentaries and heavyweight political interviews.But now, Laurence Ferrari has announced her divorce from Thomas Hugues, her journalist husband of 14 years, amid rumours that she has formed a ‘close and loving relationship’ with France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The pair have been spotted enjoying candlelit meals, and Miss Ferrari, 41, is a frequent visitor to the Elysee Palace,Mr Sarkozy’s official residence in Paris.
The blonde enjoyed a one-on-one live interview with Mr Sarkozy, 52, in March – when he was running for the presidency before his electoral triumph in May – and the « incredible chemistry between the two » was apparent to many TV observers.
Scroll down for more
Laurence Ferrari: has formed a ‘close and loving relationship’ with France’s bachelor president Nicolas Sarkozy
« They were both flirting for France, » said a source at Canal Plus, the TV channel where Miss Ferrari works.
« Laurence wore a low-cut black blouse and Sarkozy loved every minute of it. They got on like a house on fire and have been seeing each other ever since. Both are single people, so they have every right to enjoy each other’s company.
Laurence Ferrari has enjoyed candlelit liaisons with the French leader
« They appear to have a close and loving relationship. Laurence would make a fantastic first lady. Sarkozy is a very lucky man. »
Sources in Morocco say Miss Ferrari was even spotted at the president’s hotel in Marrakesh during a private trip to North Africa earlier this month.
Yet although there is overwhelming evidence that Mr Sarkozy and Miss Ferrari are now dating, the notoriously cautious French media has been reluctant to report details.
The country has strict privacy laws, and Mr Sarkozy is known to have got at least one editor sacked for publishing pictures of his ex-wife, Cecilia, cavorting with a lover in New York.
And when Mr Sarkozy had an affair with journalist Anna Fulda two years ago she was moved from her usual beat covering his UMP party for Le Figaro newspaper, so there would be no conflict of interest.
Instead, it has been left to the Belgian, Swiss and even Moroccan Press to report the fledgling romance, with French websites following up the reports on a daily basis.
Mr Sarkozy and Cecilia divorced last month after she said she no longer wanted to be France’s first lady.
Cecilia is said to have moved to London to get away from the media spotlight in her home country. And she has admitted an affair with Moroccan-born public relations man Richard Attias while she was still married to Mr Sarkozy.
Mr Sarkozy has been married twice, and has three sons and two step-daughters.
Miss Ferrari, meanwhile, is said to be obsessed by public life and loves the limelight.
A politician’s daughter, she completed a Press officer’s diploma in Lyon in the mid- Eighties, before studying politics at the Sorbonne University. Between 2000 and 2006 she presented the Seven To Eight TV show with Hugues, the father of their two children, Baptiste, 13, and Laetitia, 11.
« Ferrari and Hugues were the Ken and Barbie of French television, so seeing them split up has come as a huge shock to everyone, » said the Canal Plus source.
« They announced their divorce on a TV listings website this week, which indicates how professionally driven they are. »
Scroll down for more
The President’s women: Nicolas Sarkozy with his ex-wife Cecilia
The divorcees run their own production company, Story Box Press, and the source added: « Amazingly they’re still going to be working together on some television projects. »
Mr Sarkozy is known for his love of designer goods and one political source in Paris said: « It’s typical of Sarko to grab himself a trophy girlfriend called Ferrari. »
Neither Miss Ferrari nor Mr Hugues would discuss their divorce. An Elysee Palace spokesman said Mr Sarkozy’s personal life was « not open for discussion ».