Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz

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Cécile María Sara Isabel Ciganer-Albeniz

Birthdate: (59)
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Immediate Family:

Daughter of André Ciganer and Diane Teresita Albéniz de Swert
Wife of <private> Attias
Widow of Jacques Martin
Ex-wife of Nicolas Sarkozy, 23rd Président de la République française
Mother of <private> Martin Ciganer Albéniz; <private> Martin Ciganer Albéniz and <private> Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz

Cécilia Attias (born 12 November 1957, Boulogne-Billancourt, France) was the second wife of French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The ex-wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy married Richard Attias, Executive Chairman of The Experience, and events management company, on March 23 2008, in New York's Rockefeller Center.[1]


   * 1 Background
   * 2 Private life
   * 3 Political Life
   * 4 Presidential wife
   * 5 Divorce
   * 6 Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women
   * 7 References
   * 8 External links

The former first lady of France was born Cécilia María Sara Isabel Ciganer-Albéniz. Her father, André Ciganer (born Aron Chouganov) was a Moldovan immigrant believed to be of Jewish and Roma origin,[2][3] who was born in Bălţi, Moldova in 1898. He left home at the age of 13, just before the First World War.[4] Ciganer moved to Paris, where he became a furrier.[5] In 1937 he married Spanish-Belgian Teresita (a.k.a. Diane) Albéniz de Swert[4], a daughter of Alfonso Albéniz Jordana, a Spanish diplomat who played with Real Madrid in the early 1900s.[6][7] Her maternal great-grandfather was the Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz.[8]

Cécilia Sarkozy has three older brothers:

   * Patrick Ciganer is a program executive officer of the Integrative Financial Management Program of NASA.[9]
   * Christian Ciganer-Albéniz is a consultant for companies such as Framatome, AXA, Lagardère, Crédit Foncier, Accor, and Aurel Conseil.[10]
   * Ivan Antoine Ciganer-Albéniz

Born with a heart defect, she suffered from cardiac problems which hampered her growth. She underwent open cardiac surgery when she was 13, and she made up quickly for her growth delay. She stands 1.78 m (5' 10") tall.[11]

She studied piano (first prize in piano at Conservatoire), and obtained a baccalauréat B, after studying for 13 years in a French religious institution, Sœurs de Lübeck. She studied law in Assas. She went on to become a parliamentary assistant to René Touzet.[12] She also was a fitting model for Schiaparelli, the French fashion house, and worked for a public-relations company.[4]

Private life

[8] Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz moved in with the popular French TV host Jacques Martin in 1983. They married on 10 August 1984.[4] Her wedding witness was a childhood friend, Conrada de la Brosse, the wife of publicity agent François de la Brosse. The wedding took place in Neuilly-sur-Seine at the town hall, and Nicolas Sarkozy, then the mayor of Neuilly, conducted the wedding. The Martins had two daughters, Judith Martin (b. August 22 1984) and Jeanne-Marie Martin (b. June 8 1987).

Nicolas Sarkozy, who was married to his first wife at the time, met his future wife again three years later and has said he felt "struck by lightning".[12] Other sources, however, state that Sarkozy fell in love with the bride on her wedding day. In any case, Cécilia Martin would leave her husband to live with Sarkozy in 1988 and obtained a divorce three months later. Once Sarkozy had himself obtained a divorce in 1996, they married in Neuilly on October 23 1996. The witnesses were Martin Bouygues and billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault. Six months later, on April 28 1997, Cécilia Sarkozy gave birth to the couple's only child, Louis. Nicolas Sarkozy has two sons from his first marriage.

Nicolas Sarkozy once declared that his now-former wife was his "strength and [his] Achilles' heel".[13] Nicolas Sarkozy wrote in his 2005 book, Testimony, "Today, Cécilia and I are reunited for good, for real, doubtless for ever ... [W]e are not able and do not know how to separate from each other." He has said his wife is his "true soulmate" and "the person without whom nothing I do would be possible". In July 2007, he said, "At the end of the day, my only real worry is Cécilia."[14]

Political Life

When her husband was a Minister, Cécilia Sarkozy had an office next to his, serving as his close adviser. In 2002, she was appointed to the Office of the Ministry of the Interior.[15] In 2005 she was appointed Chief of Staff for the UMP Party. [15]

[edit] Presidential wife

Cécilia Sarkozy visited Libya twice in July 2007 to visit Muammar al-Gaddafi and helped in securing the release of five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor who had all spent years on Libya's death row after allegedly being tortured into confessing to infecting Libyan babies with the HIV virus.[16] The French left asked for Cécilia Sarkozy to be heard by the Parliamentary Commission expected to be created in October 2007 concerning the terms of the release of the six, as she had played an "important role" in their liberation according to Pierre Moscovici (PS).[17]


In October 2007, several French, American, and British media outlets published rumors that the Sarkozys had separated and expected to announce their plans to divorce shortly.[18][19] A report in Time (16 October 2007) noted that Cécilia Sarkozy has often stayed at the hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, where Richard Attias lives.[20]

The Associated Press and CNN.com reported on October 18, 2007, that a divorce announcement was imminent. The New York Times reported that same day that the Élysée Palace had released a statement declaring that the Sarkozys “announce their separation by mutual consent.” Shortly afterwards, the palace corrected the separation announcement by stating that the Sarkozys had actually officially divorced.[21]

On 19 October 2007, an interview with Cécilia Sarkozy was published on the front page of L'Est Républicain, a regional French newspaper. In it, she admitted that she had run away with her lover, Richard Attias, in 2005 ("I met someone, I fell in love, I left") and that though she eventually returned to Sarkozy, they were unable to repair their marriage. "What happened to me has happened to millions of people: one day you no longer have your place in the couple. The couple is no longer the essential thing of your life. It no longer functions; it no longer works."[22]

Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women

In October 2008, Cecilia Attias announced the launch of her Foundation for women's rights. The Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women actualizes concrete improvement in the lives of women worldwide by serving as a strategic, media, and financial platform for small and moderate sized, established non-governmental organizations, associations and foundations who champion the cause of women’s equality and well-being. Recently, Cecilia Attias delivered the keynote address at the ARISE Africa Fashion Awards entitled "The Promise of Africa." For more information on Cecilia Attias' philanthropic work, visit http://www.ceciliaattiasfoundation.org.

Her father is a Moldavian Jew of the CIGANER family.

Her maternal great-grandfather was a Sefardic Jew of the ALBENIZ family.

She left Nicolas Sarkozy to run away to Israel with her now husband. They got married at a reform synagogue (as she is not Jewish) in New York.

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Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz's Timeline

November 12, 1957
Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine, France