Hollande begins new chapter after split

2014-01-26 19:20
French President Francois Hollande. (File, AFP)

French President Francois Hollande. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - French leader Francois Hollande on Sunday began a new chapter in his presidency after splitting from his partner of eight years following an affair with a younger actress.

Under intense media scrutiny since the revelation of the affair two weeks ago, Hollande - who had pledged a "normal" presidency after the domestically turbulent stint of his 'bling bling' predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy - on Saturday formally announced his split from Valerie Trierweiler.

"A Bachelor at the Elysee", said the Journal du Dimanche weekly, adding that Trierweiler's departure as first lady was "the end of an epoch".

Saying he was speaking as a private individual, Hollande, in a terse statement to AFP over the phone, said: "I wish to make it known that I have ended my partnership with Valerie Trierweiler."

Trierweiler, 48, had been convalescing at a presidential residence in Versailles outside Paris after leaving hospital last Saturday, where she was treated for what was described as fatigue brought on by press revelations of Hollande's affair with 41-year-old actress Julie Gayet.

According to media reports, Trierweiler had been ready to forgive Hollande but the president, who has not denied the affair but refused to comment on it saying it was his personal life, wanted to pull the plug.

Trierweiler left for Mumbai on Sunday on a charity trip in her first public appearance since the scandal broke.

Her entourage said she was accompanied by a presidential bodyguard. A source close to her said: "She is on good terms with the president and she is better."

But 59-year-old Hollande, who has been attacked by the opposition for political dithering, came under fire from opponents for cheating in his personal life and for procrastinating.

'Valerie, the new Diana'

"Valerie, the new Diana," tweeted Roselyne Bachelot, a former minister in ex-president Sarkozy's government.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the far-right National Front party, added: "'Perfect' president? Not in private life: four children outside marriage and a mistress who is not divorced and to whom he could not remain faithful!"

The Journal du Dimanche quoted Hollande as telling people close to him that "women have cost me dearly", referring to his splits with Trierweiler and her predecessor Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children.

Citing sources, the weekly said Trierweiler would keep an apartment the couple shared in Paris's middle-class 15th district and also receive "financial compensation".

After Hollande's announcement of their separation, Trierweiler tweeted: "I extend all my gratitude to the fantastic Elysee staff. I will never forget their dedication nor the emotional farewell."

Labour Minister Michel Sapin, who is close to Hollande, said the "decision was necessary for the sake of clarity. Now it's done".

Gayet meanwhile has kept a low profile since the scandal broke on 10 January when French glossy Closer splashed photos of Hollande arriving for alleged secret trysts at a flat near the Elysee Palace on a scooter.

Hollande had announced his separation from Segolene Royal, a senior member of his Socialist party and a presidential candidate in 2007, just after she lost the election to Sarkozy.

He then started living openly with Trierweiler, with whom he was understood to have begun a relationship in 2005. Trierweiler assumed the role of first lady at official functions after Hollande's election in 2012.

Sources said the couple worked out the terms of their split at a lunch on Thursday.

Hollande had promised at a news conference earlier this month that he would publicly define what relationship, if any, he and Trierweiler had before an 11 February state visit to Washington.

Trierweiler is a glamorous, twice-married career journalist who has three children of her own.

She emerged into the spotlight before Hollande was elected president, and warned that she would not be a wallflower, saying in April 2012: "I have character, they cannot muzzle me."

That was quickly proven when Trierweiler tweeted her support in legislative elections for an independent rival of Royal, with whom the first lady did not have a warm relationship.

The tweet went down badly in France, and Trierweiler's reputation suffered, with many deeming her arrogant. A recent poll said she was the least-liked French first lady in modern history.

After Hollande's election, Trierweiler cut down on her work at the French magazine Paris-Match and engaged in charitable activities.

Hollande is the second French president to split from his partner while in office. In 2007, Sarkozy divorced his wife Cecilia and married former supermodel and singer Carla Bruni the following year.

A poll published by Le Parisien daily on Friday showed that 54% of French people wanted no official role or status for the first lady or presidential partner.

Read more on:    francois hollande  |  valerie trierweiler  |  france

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.