May 17, 2011 / 5:45 PM / 9 years ago

Strauss-Kahn wife Anne Sinclair stands by her man

PARIS (Reuters) - Anne Sinclair, the wealthy and popular journalist married to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has so far chosen to stand by her man, even though the IMF chief faces charges of attempted rape.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn (L), International Monetary Fund Managing Director, and his wife Anne Sinclair are seen together at the Senate in Paris March 16, 2010. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The prize-winning, blue-eyed television interviewer first met Strauss-Kahn in 1989 at the apex of her career as a political talk-show host on French channel TFI. For years her celebrity largely eclipsed his.

She became his third wife in 1996. He is her second husband.

People who know them say they are an affectionate couple who have an easy relationship and like to vacation together with friends in their holiday home in the Moroccan town of Marrakesh.

Sinclair sacrificed her career to his, giving up her popular prime-time Sunday show — which featured guests from President Bill Clinton to Madonna and every major French political leader — when her husband was appointed finance minister in 1997.

Many on the center-left saw her as an ideal “first lady” if, as expected, Strauss-Kahn sought the Socialist nomination for the 2012 presidential election.

Such dreams were dashed when the managing-director of the International Monetary Fund was arrested Saturday on an Air France plane after a maid in a luxury New York hotel accused him of sexual assault. He has denied the charges.

Sinclair, who had been visiting friends in Paris, jumped to his defense immediately, saying in a statement issued on Sunday: “I do not believe for a single second the accusations leveled against my husband.”

She flew to New York, arriving just too late to see him appear in a Manhattan court, where a judge denied him bail and ordered him detained in the grim Rikers Island prison until another hearing Friday.

She has not been seen in public since then.

The couple, who have two elegant homes in Paris as well as the riad in Marrakesh, and a network of well-heeled, powerful friends, are often criticized as belonging to “the caviar Left” — espousing Socialist principles but with wealthy lifestyles remote working-class reality.

The relationship has faced challenges in the past, especially when Strauss-Kahn, a self-professed ladies’ man, admitted having an affair with an IMF employee in 2008.

Sinclair brushed it off as a one-night stand and wrote then on her blog: “We love each other like the very first day.”

Even as the current drama unfolds in New York, a French writer is considering filing a legal complaint over an alleged sexual incident involving Strauss-Kahn in 2002 when she was 22.

“She (Sinclair) seems to live in denial,” said one long-time Strauss-Kahn acquaintance, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Born in New York in 1948, Sinclair is the grand-daughter of Paul Rosenberg, one of the most prominent art merchants of the 20th century, and daughter of Robert Schwartz, a Jewish resistance fighter during World War II.

The newspaper Liberation quoted Strauss-Kahn as saying that her fortune “has ensured I will never have to want for the rest of my life.”

Additional reporting by Brian Love; Editing by Alexandria Sage and Paul Taylor

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