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UPDATE 1-French First Lady shuns TV job, regrets Royal tweet

(Adds poll rating drop)

* Regrets Twitter swipe at Segolene Royal * Says TV work may not be fitting, but magazine work vital * Popularity rating sinks in new poll By Brian Love

PARIS, Oct 3 (Reuters) - France's "First Lady" is dropping plans to relaunch a TV career but says she will not quit as a journalist at Paris Match magazine as she wants to raise her children without depending on President Francois Hollande for money.

Valerie Trierweiler, whose debut in the role of presidential partner was marred when she took a political swipe at the woman who had four children with Hollande, said in an interview she regretted that faux-pas and was still finding her way.

Career-wise, the twice-divorced mother of three told Ouest France newspaper she was abandoning plans to work again with a TV channel that she left in the run-up to the May 6 election of Hollande, to whom she is not married.

"It was a beautiful project with a humanitarian aspect but I understand that being the president's partner and working for a television channel may be problematic or even fuel suspicion for

some people," the 47-year-old Trierweiler said.

She insisted, however, that she saw no such difficulty with continuing a 22-year career at weekly news and showbiz magazine Paris Match, where she first crossed paths with Hollande as a political reporter and now writes an arts column.

"I have my children to look after and do not know how I could do it without a salary," said Trierweiler. "My feeling is that maintaining financial independence is also a healthy way to keep my feet on the ground."

Trierweiler acknowledged she made a mistake when she tweeted her support last June for the man who days later won an election battle against Segolene Royal, who had four children with Hollande and announced their formal separation in 2007, shortly after her own failed bid to become president.

"It was a mistake and I regret it," said Trierweiler. "I had still not got to grips with the fact that I was no longer just a simple citizen. It won't happen again," she said.

A Harris Interactive poll published at the same time as her interview showed Trierweiler's popularity has plummeted from 49 percent around the time of the Tweet to just 29 percent now, and that 42 percent of French people think Hollande's private life is hurting his presidential stature.

Beyond the damaging Tweet, Trierweiler has also sued several magazines for invasion of privacy after the publication of photographs of her in bikini and Hollande in swimming trunks on a beach on France's southern coast.

Trierweiler had three children before meeting Hollande, with whom she lives most of the time in the Paris apartment that they shared before his election.

Hollande, who successfully marketed himself as a "Mr Normal" who would do away with the flashy ways of predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, has cut his own wage by 30 percent to around 15,000 euros ($19,400) a month and is also seeking to cut running costs at the presidential Elysee Palace, where Trierweiler has an office and says she has a staff of three.

"My solitary work as a journalist is something I do from the home where we still live," Trierweiler said.

($1 = 0.7731 euros)

(Reporting By Brian Love; Editing by Paul Casciato and Robin Pomeroy)

((brian.love@thomsonreuters.com)(+33 1 4949 5363)(Reuters Messaging: brian.love.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: FRANCE FIRSTLADY/