Female figures in the public eye have been keeping the media busy over the past week.
Britain’s Duchess of York is to make a six-part documentary show for US television about her struggle to rebuild her life after a scandal over selling access to the British royal family.
The Oprah Winfrey Network — a new cable channel due to launch in January — said on Friday the documentary would be called Finding Sarah and would debut in the first three months of 2011.
“Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, will share with our viewers her personal struggle to rebuild her life,” Lisa Erspamer, chief creative officer of the network said in a statement.
“With the help of experts Dr Phil McGraw, Suze Orman, Martha Beck and others, the Duchess will open up about her recent public troubles and explore her lifelong battles with weight, relationships and finances. She will look to put the past behind her and move forward to a positive future,” Erspamer said.
Ferguson, 50, is the ex-wife of Britain’s Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II. She was caught in an embarrassing British newspaper sting in May in which she was filmed appearing to ask for, and accept, US$40,000 in cash in exchange for access to Prince Andrew, who is also a British trade envoy.
The couple divorced amicably in 1996 after 10 years of marriage, and have two grown children.
Also in the spotlight is French
first lady Carla Bruni. A new unauthorized biography of the Italian ex-supermodel paints an unflattering picture claiming she lives a solitary life, neglects her charitable works and forces her husband to socialize with her former lovers.
Carla, a Secret Life by former journalist Besma Lahouri discloses that following her marriage to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a presidential adviser was assigned to help rebrand Bruni, whose former lovers include Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, as a demure political wife.
It also alleges that Bruni, 43, has had extensive plastic surgery despite denials, and had a 20-year relationship with a Paris surgeon.
The disclosures appeared in a report published on Saturday in British newspaper the Times, which has, along with the French weekly Marianne, been given the book ahead of publication.
Describing, Bruni as a “female Don Juan,” the book, which the author says the Elysee Palace tried to discourage, says she has maintained contact with former paramours.
“Since he married the woman that some called a ‘man-eater,’ [Sarkozy] has to put up every day with this burdensome tribe. Singers, philosophers, lawyers, bosses, men of the press or politics.”
No less than three such men were house guests at Bruni’s Riviera villa last year during Sarkozy’s first holiday there.
Bruni had finally met her match in her marriage to Sarkozy with a “man even more unpredictable than her,” Lahouri said.
After their whirlwind romance and 2008 marriage, the Elysee Palace embarked on a carefully managed image makeover of the new first lady led by presidential aide Pierre Charon.
“Carla had warned me ‘they are going to say a lot of things about me, about my past life. Things, photographs are going to come out’ ... So we had to help give her a new image. That of a shy young woman,” he told Lahouri.
Behind the scenes, however, the book says she lives a solitary life and Lahouri describes her foundation to fight AIDS as “an empty shell.”
In other celebrity news, Britney Spears has denied a bodyguard’s accusations that she sexually harassed him and abused her children, saying Thursday in a statement on her Web site that authorities looked into his claims but found no reason to act.
The statement said the pop singer and her attorney expect Fernando Flores’ sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit to be dismissed.
“This lawsuit is another unfortunate situation where someone is trying to take advantage of the Spears family and make a name for himself,” the statement read. “The Department of Children and Family Services conducted a proper investigation surrounding Mr Flores’ accusations and have closed the case without further action.’’
Spears did not say when the investigation was conducted and the department doesn’t release details of its inquiries.
Flores claimed in his lawsuit that Spears repeatedly exposed herself to him and made other unwanted sexual advances. He also claimed she used his belt to discipline her young sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James, and acted inappropriately in front of them.
The bodyguard’s employment with Spears appeared to be brief — his court filings state he started working for her in February, and by June he was no longer on her security detail.
Flores is reportedly seeking unspecified damages.
Spears’ ex-husband, Kevin Federline, has also denied through his attorney that any abuse occurred and called Flores’ accusations “baseless.”
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