Does Carla Bruni Have a Healthy View on Marriage?

Photo: David Bellemere for ELLE France
Photo: David Bellemere for ELLE France

Now that’s what we call being brutally honest!

Carla Bruni, retired model and former first lady of France, is on the cover of this month’s Elle France. The 48-year-old spoke about family, politics, Karl Lagerfeld, her views on marriage, and the bond she shares with her husband, 61-year-old former President Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

“My husband and I discovered something I never thought I would live like a thunderbolt in romance novels. … And I became the wife of a traditional couple, as I thought I would never become,” she said. (Thunderbolt refers to the old-fashioned term when someone is hit or struck by the thunderbolt of passion. After all, the couple married after a quick courtship in February 2008, just months after his second marriage ended in divorce.)

The interview turned intense when Bruni explained how she’d react if her husband hypothetically committed adultery. “I could do extreme gestures, like cut his throat or his ears when he’s asleep, for example,” she said, as reported by “I think you should avoid to cheat if you can; it’s too dangerous. It’s a road to a breakup. Also, fidelity, this is a sine qua non [essential] condition for a wedding [sic], I guess. Why cheat and lie whereas you have the possibility to choose your life, get married or not, have kids or not.”

Bruni’s fierce remarks hold meaning, say mental health experts. “My suspicion is that she was saying it a little tongue-in-cheek, as a way to underscore her degree of anger and her feelings of betrayal that would come with the thought of infidelity,” Wendy Walsh, PhD, a psychotherapist and relationship expert, tells Yahoo Style.

Psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser insists that many people think thoughts similar to what Bruni said when faced with infidelity. “The seemingly flip yet gruesome statement shows that she would be deeply angered and hurt,” the co-host of Investigation Discovery’s Fatal Vows tells Yahoo Style.

Walsh adds that Mrs. Sarkozy’s reaction actually stems from a primal instinct. “Infidelity bothers women in a huge way because it goes back to our deep anthropological past,” she says. “Humans are wired to bond, and the way we survived was in cooperative family units and with lovers who stayed around to protect their offspring. As a result, the thought of severing an attachment is a great crime against your mental health and personal security.”

Kaiser also feels that Bruni is comfortable enough with her public persona and relationship with the media “that she would feel safe making comments such as this one, almost if she were talking to a friend.”

But just a word of caution for the former first lady.

“While I think it is healthy to express your feelings if or when something like this happens, you have to be careful about people thinking you’re serious,” adds Kaiser. “Partners are almost always considered as the first possible suspect when people actually are killed, and so this comment — even if it was intended to be flip or sarcastic — could create suspicion should something happen to them. However, the good news is that most people who speak so publicly about these types of revenge acts do not actually do them.”

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