President Sarkozy is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and is known to have small feet, and yes, he often wears heeled shoes in public.
Three years later, Cécilia left Martin for Sarkozy and they finally married in 1996, with the four children from their earlier marriages looking on.
In 1997, their son, Louis, was born. And soon, pictures of the happy, if unconventional, family began to dominate magazine covers.
Eight years later, however, history seemed to repeat itself when Cécilia walked out on Sarkozy. Rumors circulated that she was frustrated with his inattentiveness to her, and his dalliances with other women.
Not to be outdone, Cécilia flew to New York to be with her new love, international advertising executive Richard Attias.
If newspaper reports are to be believed, Sarkozy did everything he could to get Cécilia back -- he begged, he pleaded, and when that didn't work, he reportedly began a relationship with Anne Fulda, a 47-year-old political journalist, presumably to make his wife jealous.
Their marital problems provided so much grist for the rumor mills that two books were written about it, both disguised as novels.
In both books -- "Between the Heart and Reason" and "The True Story of the Pretender" -- the neglected wife of a powerful government minister divorces him because of his philandering.
They may be found in the fiction aisle, but no one in France is in any doubt about the inspiration behind these two popular novels.
Meanwhile, in January 2006, 10 months after leaving, Madame Sarkozy returned to her husband.
No one knows quite what prompted it or whether the reunion is built to last.
But, for President Sarkozy, there seemed little doubt. In his book "Testimony," published last year, he wrote: "Today, Cécilia and I are reunited for good, for real, doubtless for ever. ... We are not able and do not know how to separate from each other."
What Madame Sarkozy made of that effusive declaration is anyone's guess. Much has been made of her independence, despite her close involvement in her husband's political career.
Speaking to ABCNEWS.com, Quinio said, "Cécilia has built her own life. She's not here to smile dully next to her man. At the inauguration ceremony, he made an affectionate gesture toward her, he caressed her cheek, and you could see that she felt humiliated by it."
Humiliated by a caress and determined to make her own mark on arguably the most important day of her husband's career.
The morning after the inauguration, newspaper columnists were in little doubt over who had stolen the show (and the headlines) from the new president.
Dressed in a shiny champagne-colored sheath, with a partial slit at the back, the former model reminded some onlookers of perhaps the most stylish first lady of them all, Jackie Kennedy.
As Quinio put it, "For the first time, we saw glamour and celebrity culture being introduced into an official French ceremony. She walked up the steps of the Elysée wearing a designer gown, as if she were gliding down the red carpet at Cannes!"
To Gordon, "Cécilia is the kind of woman all women want to be and every man wants to be with. She is so ballsy."
She added, "When the marriage ran into rough waters, she turned the tables on him, she left him -- I admire that feistiness. And I think the French like her for being authentic."
She's so insistent on being authentic that she has even spoken of her pride in not having a single drop of French blood in her veins.