Former French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler. Picture: Lionel Bonaventure/Pool/Files

London -

French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler took an overdose of pills after the president confessed he had cheated on her, it was claimed on Thursday night.

A French magazine quoted a source as saying: “She took a pill too many. However, she never wanted to attempt suicide.”

The report by Le Point was neither confirmed nor denied by the Elysee Palace.

Trierweiler, 48, was admitted to hospital last Friday, the morning after Francois Hollande warned her that his affair with actress Julie Gayet, 41 - which he had previously denied - was about to be publicly exposed.

The source claimed Hollande’s manner was “cold and ruthless”.

“That night when she went back home, she swallowed some pills,” said Le Point. “The next morning she woke up feeling sick.”

Devastated Trierweiler was taken to hospital to recover from what her spokesman called “extreme emotional shock”, and is still there under observation.

The spokesman said earlier this week that she had undergone “tests”, without revealing their nature. On Thursday night he added there would be “no comment on medical matters”.

Le Point magazine is regarded as having good contacts in the Trierweiler camp, but this is the first time anyone has suggested the First Lady might have attempted to harm herself. From her hospital bed, she had been briefing friendly journalists of her fears that she is on the verge of being “dumped” by the president - whom she has been seeing for seven years - in favour of Gayet, who is reportedly four months pregnant.

But on Thursday night the First Lady told France’s RTL radio station that her “blood pressure was low, but her head is held high”.

She phoned the station from hospital to deny reports that the president had “neglected” her, saying he had been barred by doctors from visiting her but had sent flowers and chocolates.

“She doesn’t want people to think he is neglecting her at such a painful time,” said an RTL reporter after speaking to Trierweiler.

Another magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur, which has excellent Elysee Palace contacts, said Hollande wanted to split up with Trierweiler but was foiled by her sudden admission to hospital.

It said he had hoped to convince her to sign a joint announcement of their separation last Saturday. By Sunday night, however, Mr Hollande had abandoned the plan because he feared it would make him look cruel and insensitive.

Trierweiler is said to have voiced concerns that she is about to be told their relationship is over to a colleague at Paris Match magazine.

Although she is not quoted directly, the publication’s deputy editor Catherine Schwaab, who is a close friend, said in an article that the couple had drifted apart as Hollande worked long hours, to the extent that the First Lady was forced to “send a text message” if they wanted to “walk in the gardens together after dinner”.

While Hollande began sleeping in the presidential quarters of the Elysee Palace - at least when he wasn’t with Gayet - Trierweiler usually returned to the couple’s luxury flat.

Schwaab said: “At first they used to go back to their flat in the 15th arrondissement together. But he became increasingly busy. She used to stay behind in her office, waiting, in the hope of “keeping the flame strong”.

“But as Hollande got busier, Valerie became more fragile and insecure. There is no worse poison than indifference.”

Trierweiler’s despair will have been exacerbated by suggestions that it was Thomas Hollande, the president’s eldest son, who introduced him to the actress. The First Lady has always faced hostility from her partner’s children for breaking up his relationship with Ségolène Royal, their mother.

Hollande has furiously protested this week that his philandering is a private matter and his popularity has even risen slightly from rock bottom.

On Thursday he was reportedly dubbed a “retarded adolescent” by his own interior minister, Manuel Valls, for his trysts with Gayet, in which he arrived at their love-nest hidden under a motorcycle helmet. Former premier Nicolas Sarkozy also branded his political rival “the ridiculous president”.

Hollande’s fling with the actress has been going on for at least a year, during which time France’s economy has been nose-diving. Gayet has been quoted as telling a friend “more than a year ago” that she has found an “older man, very different from earlier boyfriends, who is in politics”.

On Thursday night she launched legal action against Closer, the magazine which broke the story, seeking 50 000 euros (£43 000) in damages for breach of privacy. - Daily Mail