The nagging wife of Tunisia's ousted president had to force him to flee the country on a private jet by telling him to 'get on board, you idiot', a French magazine has revealed.

Shamed dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali is said to have refused to board the plane at Tunis airport, insisting: 'I don't want to go. I want to die in my country.'

But wife Leila Trabelsi was overheard telling him: 'All my life I've had to put up with your stupidity. Just get on!'

Leila Ben Ali
'I don't want to go': Ben Ali did not want to leave Tunisia during the uprising but boarded a plane after his wife called him an idiot

Wearing the trousers: Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali told wife Leila he wanted to die in Tunisia but she insisted on him leaving the country during last month's uprising.
Tunisian police chief Ali Seriati, also beside the steps of the plane, then added: 'For God's sake, just get on board.'

They finally managed to goad 74-year-old Ben Ali aboard by telling him it would only be a 'temporary exile' and he would be able to return soon, it was reported.
The bizarre conversation took place on January 14 as the Ben Ali family fled the country during a massive uprising against their corrupt 23-year regime.

The overheard comments were reported in French news magazine Nouvel Observateur this week, which said it learned about them from a source at the scene.

In exile: First Lady Leila Trabelsi and Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali escaped with millions of pounds worth of gold

The magazine commented: 'If Ben Ali ever sees his country again, it will only ever be from the inside of a prison cell.'

The Ben Ali family are believed to have escaped from Tunisia with one and half tonnes of gold worth £35million taken from Tunisia's central bank aboard their plane.

Tunisia has since issued an international arrest warrant for the entire ruling family, who are now thought to be living in luxury in Saudi Arabia.

They are wanted for property theft and illegal foreign currency transfers.

Much of the family's vast £3.5billion fortune is believed to be banked in France, the former colonial power, where government officials have said any 'suspicious' Tunisian assets would be frozen.

Former First Lady Mrs Trabelsi has been likened to the Philippines' Imelda Marcos because of her love of wealth and its trappings.

She is known for her love of money, sports cars and opulent homes, and used to make regular shopping trips to Dubai where she spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on luxury designer goods.

Since their exile, looters raided and trashed many of the sprawling homes where in upmarket areas around the capital Tunis where the family lived.