French President Francois Hollande (L) and first lady
Valerie Trierweiler together at the Elysee Palace in Paris
in October last year. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Files
French first lady Valerie Trierweiler has been admitted
to hospital following reports of an affair between President
Francois Hollande and an actress, but will be discharged today,
Daily newspaper Le Parisien said on its website earlier that
Trierweiler, 48, had been taken to hospital after being
shaken by a celebrity magazine's reports of a liaison between
her partner Hollande and French actress Julie Gayet.
"She has been in hospital since Friday. She will leave
tomorrow," her spokesman Patrice Biancone told Reuters.
Asked about the future of Trierweiler's relationship with the
president, Biancone said: "She needs rest. Then she will
decide what to do."
A source at the Elysee declined to comment on Trierweiler's
hospitalisation and and the magazine report.
"The president is at work. He is preparing Tuesday's news
conference," the source said.
On Tuesday, Hollande will face the media in a traditional new
year news conference that had been scheduled well before the
reports of the affair broke.
Hollande, who came to power in May 2012, is expected to
announce new measures to boost the French economy, including
lower charges for companies, cuts in public spending and a
simplification of business regulation.
THREAT TO SUE
Hollande and Trierweiler are scheduled to make a state visit
to the United States in February and are set to attend a
state dinner with President Barack Obama and his wife
Michelle on Feb. 11.
On Friday, Hollande, 59, threatened to sue celebrity magazine
Closer, complaining of breach of privacy after it said he was
having an affair with Gayet, 41.
Closer published a series of photos of a woman resembling
Gayet entering a Paris flat close to the Elysee presidential
palace, followed by a man masked by a black motorcycle helmet
who the magazine said was Hollande.
Gayet, a mother of two, has dozens of film credits to her
name but is little known outside France. Last year, she
starred in "Quai d'Orsay", in which she plays a vampish
diplomatic adviser in the foreign ministry.
In March last year she filed a complaint with the Paris
prosecutor for breach of privacy over Internet rumours
alleging she had a relationship with Hollande.
Hollande and Trierweiler, a journalist for celebrity magazine
Paris Match, are not married but have been in a long-term
relationship for several years.
"TURN THE PAGE"
Hollande has four children from a previous relationship with
Segolene Royal, a senior member of his Socialist Party who
ran for president against Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. Royal
announced their separation right after she lost the election.
Speaking on France 2 televison on Sunday, Royal declined to
comment on the affair, saying that French people had more
important things to worry about.
"It is necessary to turn the page and get back to work," she
Opposition leader Francois Coppe, head of the conservative
UMP party, said the affair was "disastrous for the image of
At home, the reports of Hollande's affair have had little
effect on his image and French media at the weekend mainly
focused on Closer's unprecedented breach of presidential
privacy rather than on the alleged relationship with Gayet.
A poll by Ifop showed that 84 percent of the public had not
changed their opinion about Hollande following news of the
affair and that 77 percent considered it "a private affair
that only concerns Francois Hollande".
"At the moment, the revelations about his liaison with Julie
Gayet have no effect on public opinion. In fact, he is
already so unpopular that there is no change," said Ifop
analyst Frederic Dabi.
In November one survey gave Hollande an approval rating of
only 15 percent. He is the most unpopular president in
France's modern history according to several polls.
Hollande's Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said the
French were responsible and mature and the Ifop poll showed
they respected one another.
"This may be specifically French, but let's be proud of it,"
she said on BFM television.