The Bulgarian government honored French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Cécilia, for their recent efforts in helping to free five Bulgarian nurses held in Libya. But the president attended the ceremony alone. Despite weeks of planning, the first lady backed out. She hasn't made an official appearance since July, reviving rumors that her often-troubled marriage could be on the rocks again.
Mrs. Sarkozy's office insisted that she skipped out on the ceremony because she didn't want to revive the criticism that surrounded her negotiations that led to the nurses' release. But France's première dame is making a habit of disappearing. She recently skipped a major dinner and a TV appearance. She also avoided a visit with President Bush and family last summer, and was seen a short time later shopping.