When the Meilandjes got into a fight with their manager Valérie Lempereur, the woman who definitely put the striking family on the map, they suddenly characterized her as unreliable. Valérie, who will be publishing an autobiography this week, announces her sweet revenge in Story…
‘What Martien owes to me’
aAs a former manager of the Meiland family, Valérie Lempereur, who at the time was working as a disclosure journalist in the international media world under the pseudonym Maxime Verlaar, was mentioned in Martien’s biography. Martien – from mayor’s son to lord of the castle mentioned and on balance not in a positive sense. When they met, Valérie was still acclaimed. With her business acumen, she ensured that the Meilandjes got an extremely lucrative TV contract, which made them a millionaire. She also devised the extra exaggerated way in which Martien wears his flamboyant shawls, in order to get her own signature. Nevertheless, the Meilandjes immediately broke with Valérie at some point, after their producer made her illustrious past the subject of conversation. In her journalistic career – in which she worked for, among others, the crime program of the late Peter R. de Vries, New Revu, Story and the German media worked – she was feared for the bold way she got her news; she went undercover in various guises when necessary to get her cover stories completed. Not everyone in journalism was charmed by this and it earned her quite a few enemies. Her sometimes compelling personality instilled fear in many. However, her firsts were always sensational. Although Valérie de Meilandjes brought the necessary fame and prosperity, they suddenly wanted nothing more to do with her. In her autobiography, published in the Netherlands and Belgium last week Madam let Valérie, who was born as a boy, had a terrible childhood and worked her way up to a journalistic phenomenon after only a few years of primary school, finally get to know herself a little better.
Should Erica and Martien Meiland fear the second part of Valérie Lempereur’s autobiography?
As Martien admits in his book, Chateau Meiland without Valérie’s input, it may never have gotten off the ground. Valérie now tells Story about this: ‘They had been working on it for years, but it didn’t work out. Then I helped them on their way. Without me they would never have been able to approach John de Mol directly. I even did their contract negotiations at the time. I barely got anything from it myself. At the time I did indeed advise Martien to wear his characteristic shawls as a kind of recognition, as he also tells in his book. It would have been more chic if he had been a little more frugal with me, when you see what he and his family owe to me afterwards. They threw me aside on the intercession of Vincent ter Voert, of Vincent TV Productions. He felt threatened because I understood him well. I know that TV world – the Meilandjes didn’t back then. Vincent TV wanted the Meilandjes to show up for an apple and an egg in the reality show. I got that. Some things happened then… I expected the Meilandjes to be honest enough to write that down in their book. They didn’t. I’m going to tell my side of the story. I don’t think the Meilandjes are always honest.’ That will happen in the second part of her autobiography, which will be published exactly one year from now.
In the revealing and at times disconcerting book Madam Valérie describes how she was born in a Zeeland family of seven children and grew up as Daniel, but discovered at a young age that she was in the wrong body – he wanted to be a girl. When she finally had sex surgery to become Valérie, which she candidly details in the book, and after a life of abuse and lovelessness in children’s homes, went astray and became a drug addict, life lifted her up again after she found her job as writer and journalist. The late Theo van Gogh, with whom the also rebellious Valérie maintained a close friendship, helped her find a job at New Revue. That’s where the ball started rolling. She then grew into a feared reporter in both the Netherlands and Flanders, who also became a welcome and welcome guest in society circles, even up to royalty. Her side of the story about the Meiland history will only be discussed next year. Valérie tells Story: ‘I have a contract for three books with publisher Lebowski, part of Overamstel, which also publishes fellow writers such as Susan Smit, Thomas Acda, Claudia de Breij and Hugo Borst. My second book is called A matter of time, and in it I will tell you something about the Meilandjes. They don’t really have to worry or they have to run away from the truth. But if that’s what you’re afraid of…’
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