Gabon's First Lady Lives on Food Stamps in California

Inge said the Bongo family would take frequent shopping trips to Paris and other cities around the world.

Inge Bongo Appeared on VH1 Show

"They wake up in the morning and decide what are they going to buy, but it's at the expense of their character," says Inge. "Shop and shop and shop. They charter 747s and fill them. Everybody would get an envelope and you could buy your car and whatever you want. There were fleets of Porsches."

Inge was also a beneficiary of the wealth. She says her three children attended top private schools around the world and lived a luxurious life complete with private chefs, drivers and nannies.

At one point, Inge Bongo appeared on the VH1 show "Really Rich Real Estate," where she put in a $25 million bid for a mansion in Malibu.

She also rented a home from Sean "P. Diddy" Combs for $25,000 per month (eventually suing him for landlord neglect of the home).

That changed about four years ago, when President Omar Bongo told his son that his wife needed to reside in Gabon, says Inge. She tried living there, but decided she could not make her permanent home in Gabon.

"[Ali] got very violent," she says. Inge claims that witch doctors convinced her husband that something was wrong with her. "He had me kidnapped several times, he had me mutilated, he beat me beyond recognition."

Pictures taken after the alleged incident show her bruised and cut around her waist. Inge escaped back to California, where Ali Bongo had tried to win her back several times, she says. She even travelled back to Gabon for short visits to try and work things out, but by that time the relationship was essentially over. Of those visits she says, "He treated me like a zombie."

Ali Bongo has since married a much younger Gabonese woman named Sylvia Valentin Bongo. In interviews and official announcements she is referred to as his wife, but legally Inge Bongo remains married to him. Her youngest son, whom she adopted with Ali Bongo, is 10 years old, and now goes to public school, while she says she lives off food stamps and the generosity of friends.

Ali Bongo converted to Islam years ago, allowing him to have more than one wife. Inge is not Muslim and says she has thought about divorce, even going so far as to obtain a lawyer in California to work out a settlement, but Gabon's new president has not responded. According to her, the last time she received money from him was more than a year ago.

"We had a pact that we'd never divorce. To me that didn't involve being broke," she says. "He promised he would take care of us."

Now Inge says she wants her rightful place as the new first lady of Gabon. She wants to make changes in the country's wealth disparity and the rights of women and children, and has called for the Obama administration to get involved in her case.

She says she sees some similarities in Obama being the first black president with African roots, and her being the first black American first lady of an African country.

"Hopefully, I can get the Obama administration to shine some light on the injustices against women and children and everything that I feel is wrong."

A spokeswoman for the government of Gabon told ABC News the government has no comment on Inge Bongo at this time.

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