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French President's 'secret affair' is out

An angry Fran ois Hollande said he was considering legal action against a tabloid that published a report of his 'relationship' with actress Julie Gayet

Paris: The French President François Hollande has threatened legal action over claims that he is having an affair with an actor. The French magazine Closer, on Friday, released a 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.”

A French citizen reads Closer, which reported on French President Francois Hollande’s alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet. Pic/AFP
A French citizen reads Closer, which reported on French President Francois Hollande’s alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet. Pic/AFP

The weekly tabloid’s actions earned a rapid rebuke from the president, who said he was considering legal action over what he called an attack on his right to privacy. Closer, echoing reports published on various websites in recent days, said Hollande routinely drives through Paris on his scooter to spend the night with his 41-year-old mistress. “Around New Year’s Day, a helmeted head of state joined the actress at her apartment, where he has got into the habit of spending the night,” Closer wrote on its website.

French President Francois Hollande
French President Francois Hollande

Hollande condemned 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, said he was ‘looking into possible action, including legal action,’ against the weekly magazine. Closer said the pictures raised security concerns by showing that the head was accompanied by only one bodyguard when he trekked to Gayet’s flat. Gayet, who appeared in one of Hollande’s commercials, filed a complaint in March over rumours of the affair.

Actress Julie Gayet
Actress Julie Gayet

French presidential infidelity
>> Former president Jacques Chirac is believed to have had many extra-marital conquests. His chauffeur also told of driving the president to assignations and described him as ‘Monsieur 15 minutes, shower included’.
>> His predecessor François Mitterrand hid his lover and their daughter for more than two decades
>> Felix Faure, French president from 1895-99, died in the bed of his mistress
>> Nicolas Sarkozy, who, during a brief separation from his second wife Cecilia, who later left him for good, reportedly sent a text message saying he intended to ask the female journalist he had taken on holiday to marry him if his wife did not return
>> Valery Gistard d'Estaing, president from 1974-81, was rumoured to have many mistresses

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