With him, she has weathered many storms. Without him, who died in 2021 from stomach cancer, she remained with debts, "colossal, inextinguishable," as she confided to Sept à Huit in March. "647 million and some". Dominique Tapie was the wife of the man nicknamed "the Boss" for thirty years. For her, he left his first wife and lifted mountains. It is also at the center of Tapie, the Netflix series dedicated to the businessman directed by Tristan Séguéla (the son of the famous publicist). But not in the way she would have liked. Not like in her book published in March 2023, Bernard, la fureur de vivre (ed. of L'Observatoire) in which she tells everything that "really" happened. To listen to it indeed, it has nothing to do with the Dominique embodied on the screen by Joséphine Japy, if not the look, very similar. "But lies sell better than the truth," she begins our telephone interview on Wednesday, September 13.
- Call for Business with Attitude Awards
Mrs. Figaro. - You were against this series, weren't you?
Dominique Tapie. - Tristan (Séguéla, the director, editor's note) had already proposed a series about ten years ago to my husband, and Bernard had told him: "There is no question of it". Four years ago, he came home with his father (Jacques Séguéla, editor's note). He reiterated his request and Bernard accepted, on condition that everything be done under the chaperone of our son Laurent, guarantor according to him of his truth. The two sons exchanged at that time and there was no further news. We then learned that Tristan had done this series alone. I was a little shocked. Jacques, who was a lifelong friend, did not react. In July, Tristan, who felt hurt, wanted to explain. He told me that he wished he had a free hand because he wanted to make a fiction. I insist, a fiction. From the moment he made amends, and in view of the friendship I have with his parents who are friends of a lifetime, I did not make things worse. I don't like conflict very much.
What did you think, in the end?
I necessarily had a priori. I recognize that Laurent Laffite is not bad in the role. All the actors are very good. It will no doubt be successful. But we, the family, cannot have a serene and relaxed look. He's not my husband. I was discussing it yesterday with Noëlle Bellone (the secretary general of the Tapie group, played in the series by Camille Chamoux, editor's note) and like me, she has not found the spark of her eyes. Inevitably, no one can replace Bernard. He was so spontaneous, he needed so much adrenaline. He was a very beautiful personality. Beyond that, the problem with this series is that it mixes real facts (the Wonder batteries, the corruption case of the players of Valenciennes, Adidas etc ... Editor's note), which makes us think that everything is true, with pure inventions. In the series, I am almost made to look like the mastermind. As if, with Noëlle Bellone, we had found solutions in the shadows for Adidas... But I never put a finger, an eye, in Bernard's files! I accompanied my husband on his adventures, but I was never an investigator of his affairs. Years later, I learned that they had signed for me, that he had named me as a partner on documents, and I resented him very much.
So you absolutely did not recognize yourself in the character of Dominique played by Joséphine Japy?
In my love story with Bernard, as told in the series, I seem to be very enterprising and very enterprising, which I am not. During their first lunch, when Bernard asks Dominique what her dream is in life, she replies "a boat, a mansion in Paris"! I have never been that woman! And I would never have kissed him first! In my book (Bernard, la fureur de vivre, Editor's note), I tell for example that when Bernard started courting me assiduously, I was very annoyed because he was married. I am a woman from a bygone era, it is not me who would have jumped on her neck, not at all. I asked Tristan why he told our story like that: he told me that when he saw us on vacation, when he was younger, that's how he imagined us...
The confessions of Dominique Tapie are in Bernard, la fureur de vivre, published by L'Observatoire. Ed. of the Observatory
In the series, you give, it's true, the image of a couple very in love, fusional, unbreakable ...
We were fusional, it's true. We were always in the seduction of each other, the years had not altered anything. Bernard always paid a lot of attention to the way I dressed, how I styled my hair. When he was on a show, he called me right after and asked, "So, how did you find me?"
Do you at least recognize yourself in the look of your character?
Yes, I was very classic, that was my look. They even found a beige shirt that I had from Celine, and a green dress with polka dots from Saint Laurent, they worked well. Bernard's look too: the raincoat, the costumes, it's good.
If you were not the mastermind of the Tapie group, what was your daily life?
I was a housewife. I had my dance classes, my friends... I never worked, he wouldn't have put up with it. I managed him, the children, the dogs he was crazy about, the organization, the holidays... The rest wasn't my job. We were an old-fashioned couple. The only time I participated in something was when he bought Mic-Mac (the women's ready-to-wear firm, in 1983, editor's note). I took the head of a shop avenue Victor Hugo, it amused me.
We also feel that he comes from a modest social background, from which you do not come. In a way, that you teach him good manners, even if you like his upstart side. It's true?
Yes. At dinners, I frequently asked him to be quiet, to let others speak, I beat him under the table. He constantly cut people off, he had an opinion on everything, he was always too cash.
Bernard Tapie, beyond his entrepreneurial career, gives the image of a loyal husband, a daddy hen, an outstanding cook (the famous paella), a rather modern man in the private ...
Contrary to what we see in the series, I can tell you that he has never changed a layer of his life! (Laughter) Also, he was an outstanding cook it is true, but only when we had people. That is to say, this scene where we see him coming home after a day's work and starting to peel potatoes in the kitchen is not credible. And then when he made his paella, he needed little hands around him; Bernard was not a cook, but a "chef". He was very macho, but with great respect for women, especially those he worked with. Professionally, he was really ahead of his time, most of his collaborators were women. And what's very true in the show, too, is the love he has for his family and his children. When he left his wife (his first wife, Michèle Layec, editor's note) and his children, he was physically ill, he had anxiety attacks that made me take him to the hospital. Guilt gnawed at him.
Tristan Séguéla dwells a lot on Bernard's relationship with his father, whose admiration he seems to have sought all his life. What do you think?
Her father was very introverted, unlike her mother who was very demonstrative and affectionate. He did not communicate much with Bernard, contrary to what the series shows. He was closer to his youngest son, Jean-Claude, who took over his heating company, but does not appear in the episodes. But what is true is that Bernard has always sought his father's pride. He had a lot of respect for him and always spoiled his parents a lot. He was a very good son.
Over the course of the episodes, we are led to think that without you, he would not have done a quarter of what he did...
There is this beautiful sentence that he said to me at the end of his life: "Everything I did was to impress you".
Tapie, a 7-episode miniseries airing on Netflix from September 13, 2023.