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Interview with Andrej Babiš’s wife Monika about ordinary life.

Fast confession - Monika Babišová: Andrej kept his promise...

Karolína Lišková
14.Oct 2017
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6 minutes
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Monika and Andrej Babiš

Behind every powerful man stands a woman. Now the wife of Andrej Babiš, former finance minister and one of the leading businessmen in the Czech Republic, Monika is also very busy. In addition to caring for two adolescent children, she devotes herself to charity and the construction and opening of a hotel and restaurant. Nevertheless, she found time for an interview with Luxury Prague Life, in which she confided why she and her children have had security detail for over ten years. 

Monika and his husband Andrej Babiš
Monika's best friends
The most important is her family

You are the woman who stands beside one of the most powerful men in Czechia and Slovakia. But there are bodyguards behind you. What was it like before politics became a part of your family life? What is it like for you and your children now?

Before Andrej entered politics, we lived almost normally, like every other family. We spent much more time together than we do now. We went on vacation with the children every year and devoted ourselves to them. People in the streets and restaurants didn’t recognise us, didn’t point at us or want to take photos. The media let us live in peace. That all has changed. The kids have to read lies about their father in the media, which hurts them terribly. They are proud of their father, but they would prefer if he wasn’t in politics.

Do you feel more yourself when you’re on vacation? Where nobody knows who you are?

I don’t know if I can use that expression. I’m always myself everywhere, but I feel more at peace abroad.

What would you advise other men and women who are just starting a business or entering politics?

I don’t know if I can give anybody advice. I found my own path, I am raising my children and working. I have something to fulfil me, and I don’t just wait at home for my husband to come home from work and tell me what’s next. I am simply independent.

Prodej luxusního bytu, Praha 1 - Nové Město
Prodej luxusního bytu, Praha 1 - Nové Město, Praha 1

How do you keep up with a husband like yours, keep up your femininity and the family hearth in difficult conditions?

I don’t know. I am interested in what he does, I follow his debates, read articles, watch news channels, and when he’s in the mood we discuss his problems. I want him to know that he has support at home and I believe it really helps him sometimes.

Monika, you recently got married after a relationship of twenty-three years. How did you enjoy it? What was your favourite part?

I enjoyed the wedding immensely. I’m glad everything turned out as it did. I’m happy that our guests enjoyed the wedding, and I still hear praise, even from people who weren’t there but only heard about it. I was also delighted by Andrej, who kept the promise he gave me before the wedding. He switched off his work rhythm and really enjoyed it.

If you were to organise it again, what would you change?

Probably nothing.

Where and when are you going on your honeymoon?

We want to go to Bora Bora, but we don’t have dates yet. I am waiting to see what happens after the elections, but my hopes aren’t high.

Why did you change your surname to Babišová long before the wedding?

Because of the kids.

Your husband is currently very busy because of the elections. Do you try to moderate him sometimes? I mean to eat more, rest, sleep… Does he listen?

You know, right before the elections I leave him entirely alone. I know it’s very difficult for him, he comes home late and I can see that he’s tired. Sometimes he’s irritable because of it all. Sometime I can sense that he need support, so I naturally give him that.

When he does find the time, how do you spend it together?

In April, Andrej and I went to the seaside for a few days without the kids and we really enjoyed it. We rested, Andrej played tennis again after a long while, and we laughed with friends.

Your husband confided that you don’t like it when he replies to journalists, who continuously bombard him, while on vacation. What is your reaction when you catch him red-handed?

I scold him and tell him to rest at least a bit. He can reply after vacation. He is just as entitled to it as anybody else.

Do you have a recipe for keeping up a good mood after you watch the evening news?

We really don’t. (laughs)

The nation is divided as far as Babiš is concerned into two camps. One loves him, the other loathes him. What do you think of these groups?

Excuse me, but I don’t want to comment on that. It’s politics and everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

Do you regret that he went into politics?

As a wife, I regret it 100 percent. As a citizen of the Czech Republic I do not. And of course I wish him success.

Do you discuss the problems your husband has to face every day from the media, the public?

Sometimes we do. I definitely wouldn’t manage and I wouldn’t want to experience it. It is a hard battle, alone against everybody. He has to keep persuading everybody, defending himself, explaining.

Luxusní byt na prodej, Praha 5 - 232m
Luxusní byt na prodej, Praha 5 - 232m, Praha 5

Your husband confided that there have already been several attempts when his life was in danger, which is why you have bodyguards – how do you feel about this? Are you afraid?

I don’t know exactly what he told you, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t tell me everything, just to keep me calm. My children and I have had security detail for about 11 years, ever since I was assaulted by a man with a gun on the parking lot in front of Kika at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Since then, I’ve got used to it, although it took about a year.

Your children have now reached the age when they are independent. Do they ever encounter animosity in public?

Fortunately not. Somebody occasionally points at our daughter, but nothing serious. Our son is totally cool in puberty, he doesn’t care. (laughs)

Incidentally, can you tell me something about them – what they want to be, what they do?

My daughter is 17 and my son is 13, so we are choosing a university and going through puberty again. Vivien is does show-jumping, while Frederik competes on a jet surf and plays tennis. The children talk to be about everything and sometimes it’s really quite fun. (laughs)

Mr Babiš told me that you don’t get a break right now either – you’re opening a hotel. Tell me about your work, what you are in charge of. What is your day like?

We are opening the new Paloma restaurant and boutique hotel in Průhonice. I’ve been working on the entire project for about two years. I design and furnish the interiors, and I also invented and created the entire hotel. The restaurant is almost identical to the Paloma in Mougins, France. So I am definitely not bored. I get up with the kids at 6:30 am and usually leave around 9 o’clock. I work all day, have meeting and get home at various times. Sometimes in the evening, if there is a lot to do.

Tell me something about your foundation – what is your role in it, who do you help?

I co-decide who to give money to and how much. I am a member of the administrative board. We mainly help single parents, handicapped and ill people, seniors. We support the development of children from socially excluded families, and we have several sports centres for children across the country. We support firefighters, we buy equipment for hospitals and announce various grants. It’s a fairly wide scope, but I’m glad that we have helped so many people over the years.

You are very busy. Do you have a helper at home?

Yes, we do.

Which chores do you absolutely hate, and which ones do you not mind?

I hate mopping and vacuuming, but I enjoy ironing.

Your husband told me that you receive x e-mails with requests for help every day. Do you get to all of them? What are the criteria? How many do you have to refuse?

Yes, we really look at every request we receive, individually and in great detail. But even our resources are not unlimited, so we have to choose carefully. Then it’s wonderful, when for instance we meet the people who received money from us, and they are all happy and telling us how much we’ve made their life easier.

When was the last time you did something nice for yourself, and what was it?

About a month ago… I flew to Milan for two days.

Tell me how you like to pamper yourself? Which hairdresser or beautician do you go to? Do you have any tips for readers on how to keep a fresh complexion like yours?

I like massages, that is pampering for me. Otherwise, I don’t overdo it. I get my hair done by Marty Tyl at New You and my facials at Sokolovna. But certainly not too often. I’ve been using La Prairie creams for about 20 years. I plan to devote more time to my children and myself as soon as we open Paloma.

I’m also interesting in knowing if you are jealous. Surely there are many women who admire your husband… What do you do to stay the one and only for him?

I’m sure there are, but I don’t think it’s a reason to be jealous. On the contrary, I’m proud of him. I try to keep looking as good as possible, to be pleasant, and above all to be myself. That’s how he knows me and I think that’s how he likes me.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Fast confession:

Describe in three words: Who is Monika Babišová?

Mother, wife, friend.

What did you want to be when you were young?

A princess and later a hairdresser.

Where did your husband take you on your first date?

To a swanky restaurant in Prague. He ordered a shrimp cocktail and snails… I didn’t feel so great afterwards. You know, I was only twenty, a small-town girl.

Which vacation has been the most romantic for you so far?

For instance, Tenerife this year – Andrej and I were alone without the kids for the first time in a long while.

Who last did something nice for you and what was it?

My girlfriends made a beautiful video for my wedding. I was really touched.

Which characteristic of your husband do you most admire? And vice versa?

I definitely admire his obstinacy. And he in me? I don’t know, you have to ask him.

List your three vices.

Until recently, I smoked. I like prosecco and I cannot convince myself to start exercising more.

What do you think you were in your previous life?

I’ve actually asked about that. Allegedly, I was a ward at a convent raised by nuns.

What is the hardest thing about being a mother?

Increasingly difficult homework.

What cultural event has most impressed you recently?

Iva Janžurová’s performance in the play Audience with the Queen – she has my immense admiration, it was a very difficult text.

What do you like cooking most?

Probably soups.

What advice will you give your daughter when she gets married?

To not forget about herself.

What is the foundation of your family?

Love and tolerance.

What can’t money buy that you have?

A great family and fantastic girlfriends.

What would you ask those who ask you for an interview?

I wouldn’t ask them anything.
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