France’s first lady Valerie Trierweiler was hospitalized Friday after it was revealed that her partner President Francois Hollande was involved in a sex scandal. Official reports say that Trierweiler was admitted to the hospital due to “depression and extreme fatigue” following revelations that Hollande had been cheating on her. Meanwhile, friends and family are batting off rumors that she attempted suicide.
The story broke after French gossip magazine Closer published a seven-page “special report” about Hollande’s extramarital affairs, saying they had followed the president through Paris on the back of a scooter, where he had met up with 41-year-old actress Julie Gayet.
The scandal is grabbing headlines throughout France, just as Hollande prepares to give his annual new year’s speech in the coming week to address the state of the country’s affairs.
To make matters worse, the apartment that Hollande reportedly used to have his secret meetings with Gayet has been linked to the Corsican mafia, an organized crime racket.
French investigative website Mediapart reported the apartment was lent to Gayet by a friend whose ex-husband just so happens to be affiliated with the Corsican mafia. The ex-husband was found guilty of money laundering with the crime organization in November.
This is actually not unusual in French politics. Extramarital affairs and promiscuity is somewhat of an acceptable cultural norm in France, with powerful leaders throughout France’s history taking part. President Hollande’s Socialist predecessor Francois Mitterrand, a married man, had hidden from the public a daughter he had with a mistress he had been with for over 20 years. His second family was revealed by an investigative journalist in 1996, right before he died from prostate cancer.
Unlike the salacious scandals in America, which have brought down prominent politicians such as Anthony Weiner and Jon Edwards, these affairs seem to have little to no effect in outraging the French public. A poll published in France on Sunday said that 77 percent of French voters think that Hollande’s love life is “nobody’s business but his own.” Another poll revealed that 84 percent of French voters would “not change their opinion of Hollande.”
Even Hollande’s political rivals have come to his side, saying that they could not care less what he is doing in his private life as long as it doesn’t affect his performance as President of France.
Political rival and former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, president of the far-right National Front, said she isn’t concerned with Hollande’s extramarital activities as long as “it did not cost the taxpayer a centime.” Regardless, Hollande says he will take legal action, charging the gossip magazine Closer with breach of privacy under French law.
Still in a hospital bed, France’s first lady Trierweiler remains hospitalized after the President Hollande sex scandal but she says she is prepared to forgive Hollande as long as he makes clear “his intentions” regarding the Gayet affair. A “close friend” of Trierweiler’s says that “She (Trierweiler) doesn’t want to slam the door on a whim.”
Reportedly, Trierweiler learned of the affair when Hollande confessed after learning of the magazine’s intention to go public with the story of his affair with Gayet Thursday night. The affair was ongoing.
Gayet is a well-known producer in France. She is best known for her work in My Best Friend (2006), Chaos and Desire (2002) and Select Hotel (1996).
France’s first lady remains hospitalized after the President Hollande sex scandal broke in the media. The reasons behind the hospitalization have not been confirmed.