French President Francois Hollande has officially split from his long-time girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler after allegations of an illicit affair swirled in the French press. Hollande announced the split in an exclusive statement given to the AFP. "I wish to make it known that I have ended my partnership with Valerie Trierweiler," he told the news agency. The two were never married, but Treirweiler lived with Hollande in the President's home and served as the unofficial First Lady of France after he was elected in 2012.
That is, until two weeks ago when rumors appeared in French tabloids that Hollande, 59, was having an affair with a much younger lady, 41-year-old actress Julie Gayet. Shortly after news of the affair broke, Trierweiler checked into a French hospital for exhaustion. Hollande promised to make his romantic affiliations clear ahead of a scheduled White House dinner with President Obama at the beginning of February.
The affair has so far failed to impact Hollande's popularity in France. Some people do not like him, for one reason or another, and have gone to extreme measures to voice their displeasure. But polls show the news of the affair hasn't diminished Hollande in the eyes of his citizens. His approval ratings remained stable after news of his affair surfaced. Unlike in the U.S., where an affair would bring down the Presidency within minutes.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.