• France's news in English

Hollande 'having affair with actress': Closer

AFP/The Local · 10 Jan 2014, 13:29

Published: 10 Jan 2014 13:29 GMT+01:00

Hollande reacted furiously to the allegation -- backed up by photos reportedly showing the president entering the flat of actress Julie Gayet -- but did not deny it, threatening legal action over what he called an attack on his right to privacy.

Closer's Friday edition carried a seven-page report on the 59-year-old president's alleged infidelity under the headline "Francois Hollande and Julie Gayet - the president's secret love".

"It's a real passion that has... turned their lives upside down and makes them take insane risks," the magazine wrote.

To back up its claims, the magazine printed photos of Gayet, 41, arriving at a flat in an upmarket part of Paris on December 30, not far from the Elysee palace where Hollande lives.

Half-an-hour later, a man whom they identify as Hollande's bodyguard inspects the hallway of the apartment block before the arrival of a scooter with two helmeted men on board, one of whom they say is Hollande -- although his face is never revealed.

The alleged bodyguard, however, does show his face and is identified as part of Hollande's official security detail.

The next day, according to the photos, the alleged bodyguard arrives at the flat around 8am with a small bag that Closer says contains croissants.

Three hours later, a helmeted man is pictured mounting a chauffeur-driven scooter under the eyes of the alleged bodyguard.

Speaking in a personal capacity, Hollande slammed the report as an attack on the right to privacy, to which he "like every other citizen has a right".

The president, in a statement released to AFP, said he was "looking into possible action, including legal action," against the weekly magazine. But he did not deny the allegations.

France's political elite also backed the president.

“The President of France François Hollande, as a citizen, has asked for respect of his private life,” Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told French daily Le Parisien. “He is absolutely right and I have nothing to add to his statement.”

French Transportation Minister Frédéric Cuvillier also gave a full throated support of Hollande’s privacy when asked about the scandal in radio station RTL.

“Why would I want to a waste my time commenting on that type of information, if you can call it that,” he said. “I know that I’m the minister of transportation, but spare me this type of question.”

Rumours that Hollande is having an affair with Gayet, a mother-of-two, have swirled for months

Ten things to know about alleged mistress Julie Gayet

In December, French actor Stephane Guillon made innuendos on the subject during a talk show where he and Gayet were invited to promote a film in which they co-star.

When the host asked Gayet about her public support for Hollande, Guillon - sitting next to her - started laughing. Asked why, he stuttered and finally said: "He would come on set. The president likes the film, his wife much less.

Hollande lives with his partner Valerie Trierweiler, a journalist for whom he left fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children.

But the two are not married, and Trierweiler -- whom Hollande described as "the love of my life" in 2010 -- is referred to in the American media as "the first girlfriend".

If confirmed, though, the liaison will raise considerable concerns for the security of the president.

Respected news weekly L'Express last month reported that the presidential palace's security services were increasingly worried by Hollande's frequent "escapades".

'President who has a crush'

Gayet is an established television and film actress who also appeared in one of Hollande's 2012 election campaign commercials, in which she described the then-candidate as "marvellous" but also "humble and a really good listener.

She filed a complaint in March over rumours of the affair which she said were a breach of privacy. Her lawyer said at the time there was no basis to
the speculation.

If confirmed, Hollande's relationship with Gayet would perpetuate a long French tradition of philandering presidents and senior politicians.

Former president Jacques Chirac is believed to have had many extra-marital conquests, as did his predecessor Francois Mitterrand, who even had a daughter born to a mistress.

Valery Giscard d'Estaing was also described as an incorrigible womaniser. He hinted in a recent book at an affair with Princess Diana.

The French reputation for infidelity is 'a myth'

France's media is subject to strict laws on privacy, and has in the past drawn a veil over rumours about the personal lives of the country's leaders.

However, the French are known for being tolerant of their leaders' infidelities, which have in the past proved to have little or no negative impact on popularity ratings.

Laurence Pieau, editor of Closer, told Europe 1 radio that Hollande was just a "normal president" -- a term he himself has used to describe his presidency.

"He's a president who has a crush," she added.

For more news from France, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Hero of French train attack stabbed in US
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter presents the Airman's Medal to Spencer Stone. Photo: AFP

Hero of French train attack stabbed in US

4 hours ago

Spencer Stone, one of the three Americans who helped foil a terror attack on a French train, is in hospital in California after being “repeatedly stabbed”, according to reports in the US.

Strike sees rubbish pile up on Paris streets
Rubbish piles up in front of a Parisian doorway. Photo: Patrick Auzou/Twitter

Strike sees rubbish pile up on Paris streets

5 hours ago

Around 3,000 tonnes of (extra) rubbish have accumulated on the streets of Paris as a strike by the city's rubbish collectors enters its fourth day.

France set to slaughter Alps mountain goats
Hundreds of Ibex or Bouquetin are set to be slaughtered in the Alps; Photo: AFP

France set to slaughter Alps mountain goats

5 hours ago

Wildlife groups have been angered by plans to cull hundreds of wild mountain goats in the Haut-Savoie region of the French Alps. But authorities insist they have the action is justified.

France is the future, says boss of US tech giant
France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron with Cisco chief John Chambers. Photo: AFP

France is the future, says boss of US tech giant

6 hours ago

France and its Socialist government have been given a ringing endorsement from the boss of an American multinational, who believes the country is about to profoundly change. Air France executives might not agree, however.

Refugee crisis
France wants creation of EU border guard corps
France wants an EU border corps to protect bloc's borders. Photo: AFP

France wants creation of EU border guard corps

8 hours ago

France has made a move to secure Europe's borders by proposing to other member states that an EU border guard corps could be set up to help deal with the tide of migrants and refugees heading into the EU.

Frenchman Platini hit with suspension by Fifa
Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have both been suspended from Fifa. Photo: AFP

Frenchman Platini hit with suspension by Fifa

9 hours ago

Uefa president Michel Platini has been hit with a suspension by world football governing body Fifa along with the organisation's president Sepp Blatter.

Uber announces 20 percent fare cuts in Paris
Uber is facing stiff competition in Paris. Photo: AFP

Uber announces 20 percent fare cuts in Paris

10 hours ago

Ride-booking service Uber said on Thursday that it would reduce passenger prices in the French capital by 20 percent in a bid to keep up with competition.

JobTalk France - Graduate job hunting
Start with start-ups: Find a graduate job in France
Paris is home to plenty of job fairs, all worth checking out if you're a graduate. Photo: AFP

Start with start-ups: Find a graduate job in France

11 hours ago

Paris-based graduate and job hunter Ellie O'Driscoll offers some sound advice on how to land employment in France after finishing university. You can start with start-ups, she says.

Angry French rail users go on 'no-ticket' strike
A file image of rail users stranded in Gare de Lyon in Paris. Photo: AFP

Angry French rail users go on 'no-ticket' strike

11 hours ago

French rail passengers are going on strike on Thursday and Friday, by refusing to show valid tickets in a protest against a service that one train user group head described as something out of the "third world".

Race: Lines blur between French right and far-right
Nicolas Sarozy and Nadine Morano in happier times. Photo: AFP

Race: Lines blur between French right and far-right

13 hours ago

The row over a French MP's comments about France being "a country of white race" has highlighted the "tightrope" Nicolas Sarkozy's party is walking as it desperately tries to win votes from Marine Le Pen's far-right.

The pro-women French TV commercial that was axed because it was too sexist
The secret to more travel for less
French bakers in trouble with the law for... working too often
What's on in France: Ten great things to do in October
French car makes it from Paris to Bordeaux... without a driver
This pic was enough to see a French beauty queen stripped of her crown
Analysis & Opinion
Opinion: Tearing suits of Air France execs isn't great for France's image
Opinion: France should follow UK and teach drivers not punish them
Paris: See how rundown Gare du Nord became one big disco
When angry French workers target their bosses (and it pays off)
French Riviera floods: Marineland park left under sea of mud
IN PICTURES: French Riviera ravaged by 'apocalyptic' floods
Looters arrested after deadly floods strike southern France
Eight top vegetarian restaurants in France
Indecent exposure: French cops drop trousers at British war memorial
Please France can we just have one emergency phone number
French study: Passive smoking likely to cause kids behavioural problems
Here are 12 reasons why it's worth staying in France
Locals shocked as Nazi banner unfurled in Nice
Burger King to swallow up Quick in France then take on 'McDo'
OPINION: France's jobless benefit system shouldn't be derided
A Day Without Cars: The ten Paris streets you just have to walk down
Revealed: The 12 new zones for late-night and Sunday shopping in Paris
jobs available