Francois Hollande, President of France officially announced his split with partner Valerie Trierweiler on Saturday after much controversy. They were together for seven years, although no engagement or wedding bells ever rung for this couple. Nonetheless, she was known as France’s first lady, despite Hollande having four children with Segolene Royale, a former presidential candidate herself.
Hollande continues to stay mum about the ongoing affair spanning the greater part of two years with French actress Julie Gayet, which was no public secret after French news outlets leaked the news several weeks ago.
Earlier this month, Trierweiler had checked into a hospital and then took a few days to recuperate in the halls of Versailles. She declined to make any statement on the news.
All of this comes just before a scheduled official visit to Washington, D.C. on February 11. It is still unsure who will be escorting the President of France, if anyone.
Though Hollande’s approval ratings are among the lowest in French history, the news of his split did not change public opinion much. French news sources have been widely discussing the subject of the country’s reputation for presidential mistresses, citing the installment of a rumored madame wing of the presidential palace, proving just how far infidelity has gone under Hollande’s presidency.
While it is unlikely that the French President’s new bachelor status will affect his role in office, the move paints an even more warped picture of the already unpopular president and his unfavorable past object d’amour. In a recent video clip of Hollande taking a stroll in the provinces, he is accosted by a woman who tells him not to marry Trierweiler, as the people do not like her. However, at least now there is a soft spot in the hearts of the French people for Trierweiler’s plight. Her time spent in the hospital is a stark reminder of the depths of her grief and pain.
Even Hollande’s method of breaking up seemed deplorable by modern standards. He let Trierweiler go from his life in a way that even employees being fired would take issue with: a seemingly heartless memo of less than 20-words, which he also read to the press. Despite the French people’s propensity for being notoriously discreet when it comes to private versus public affairs, this inelegant dismissal was not the first of behaviors that crossed the line for many French voters.
Hollande’s affair with French actress Gayet was well-known for some time, and the French president used a fairly low level of discretion when it came to his rendezvous with her. However, it appears that there are no plans for Gayet to move into the Elysee as the new first lady, as Hollande appears to have learned his lesson about privacy and intimacy and has declared himself single. At least for now.
Meanwhile, life goes on for Valerie Trierweiler. On Sunday, just a day after receiving the official end-relationship memo, she sent out a final farewell letter to all of the staff at the Elysee and set off for a charity trip to India to support an anti-hunger nonprofit organization.
By Alisha Grace Scott