A constant fixture in the tabloids thanks to her high-profile relationships with various rock stars, Carla Bruni undeniably brought a touch of showbiz into the world of politics when she married French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Far from the archetypal First Lady, Bruni was a muse and inspiration for a number of iconic fashion houses during the peak of the supermodel era and regularly earned seven-figure annual salaries before quitting the industry in the late '90s. But she proved that she was more than just a pretty face when she reinvented herself as a purveyor of folk chansons, scoring a trio of chart-topping albums in her adopted homeland, while her eventful career also took detours into Hollywood, charity work and various humanitarian causes.
An heiress to the fortune created by her grandfather's Italian tire manufacturing company, Bruni was born to concert pianist mother Marisa Borini and classical composer father Alberto Bruni Tedeschi in Turin, Italy in 1967. (Bruni only discovered at the age of 28 that her biological father was in fact grocery magnate Maurizio Remmert.) After moving to France with her family eight years later, reportedly to escape the threat of kidnapping from Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries Red Brigades, she attended a Swiss boarding school and briefly studied art and architecture at Paris' College de Sorbonne before leaving to pursue a modeling career aged 19.
After signing to the City Models agency, Bruni landed her first major gig when she fronted a campaign for Guess? jeans and subsequently went onto work for the likes of Versace, Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel, becoming one of the 20 highest-paid fashion models in the process. Dalliances with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, both of which were played out in the press, also her saw her develop a reputation as something of a man-eater. But stifled by the industry's lack of creativity, she gave up her modelling career in 1997 in order to focus on her musical ambitions.
Bruni first displayed her talents two years later when she co-wrote six tracks on French balladeer Julien Clerc's Si j'etais elle. Inspired by Serge Gainsbourg and Joni Mitchell, she then launched her solo career in 2002 with debut album Quelqu'un m'a dit, a critically-acclaimed blend of intimate folk songs and chanson Francaise which hit the number one spot in France and later played a prominent part in Hans Canosa's comedy drama "Conversations With Other Women" (2005). Bruni then reunited with its producer Louis Bertignac in 2005 to co-write ten tracks and perform two duets on his long-awaited third studio effort, Longtemps.
In 2007, Bruni ventured into the English-language market with No Promises, a collection of songs adapted from various deceased poets including W.H. Auden, Emily Dickinson and W.B. Yeats. In the same year, she met recently divorced French President Nicolas Sarkozy and four months later, the pair married at Paris' Elysee Palace. In her role as First Lady, Bruni accompanied Sarkozy on several state visits, became a world ambassador for the protection of mothers and children against HIV and launched a foundation to promote access to culture and knowledge for all.
But Bruni continued to maintain a presence in the music industry, releasing the country-tinged Comme si de rien n'etait in 2008, and performing at New York City's Radio Music Hall for Nelson Mandela's 91st birthday celebrations. Having previously played herself in Robert Altman's Fashion Week satire "Pret-a-Porter" (1994) and French comedy "Paparazzi" (1998), Bruno made her acting debut as a museum guide in Woody Allen's time-travel romance, "Midnight In Paris" (2011).
After Sarkozy failed to win re-election in 2012, Bruni returned to the studio for Little French Songs, a highly personal affair which featured memories of her affair with Mick Jagger ("Chez Keith et Anita") a dedication to her husband ("Mon Raymond") and a thinly-veiled attack on his successor Francois Hollande ("Le pingouin"). After embarking on her first-ever U.S. tour, Bruni also made a surprise modelling comeback when she was chosen to be the face of jeweler Bulgari's Diva collection campaign.