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French president's complex personal life on view



PARIS (AP) - The French president's complex personal life - and what it means to be the first lady in modern society - may get a full airing on Tuesday as Francois Hollande answers questions for the first time since a tabloid reported he was having an affair with an actress.

Hollande's partner, journalist Valerie Trierweiler, has been hospitalized since Friday, when the tabloid Closer published photos it said proved Hollande's liaison with Julie Gayet. The pictures included one of a man it said was Hollande being ferried by motorcycle to an apartment where Gayet waited.

Twenty years ago, the same photographer, Sebastien Valiela, rocked France's political establishment with images that revealed the secret family of then-President Francois Mitterrand, showing the Socialist leader emerging from a restaurant with the daughter he had never acknowledged.

Hollande is due to give his annual news conference Tuesday afternoon, and though he may want to discuss policy and the economy, he will certainly face questions about the alleged affair.

The latest revelations call into question whether a complex personal live can be private for someone with round-the-clock bodyguards, and raise questions about the role of "first lady" in France. Trierweiler is the first person to hold the post who was not married to the president.

Francois Rebsamen, a Socialist lawmaker who counts himself among Hollande's friends, said the revelations showed the entire idea of a first lady was obsolete.

"Francois Hollande himself said it at one point: You elect a person. And then this person can live alone, can be single, can live with another man or a woman. It's no one's business and it doesn't come into play," he told RTL radio on Tuesday.

Hollande, who has four children from a previous relationship with a leading politician, was elected as a "Monsieur Normal" in a backlash against his flamboyant predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

Dominique Moisi, a French political analyst, said Hollande - who was already the most unpopular president in modern French history before the revelations - had brought the scrutiny on himself.

"He wanted to impress the French with the fact that he was a normal man, that he was a man of dignity, simplicity moral rigor," he said. "Suddenly the French are discovering that he is like others, but in a less glorious manner, even a ridiculous manner."

Photographer Valiela said he was surprised at the lack of security for Hollande, whose government has been repeatedly threatened by al-Qaida.

"To go to the rendezvous with Julie Gayet, he was taking some risks," he told RTL. "As soon as he got into the apartment, his guards left."

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jurmik January 14 2014 at 6:50 PM

Ca c'nest pas la grand chose, Vive le France.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
goingorgone January 14 2014 at 10:17 AM

Anyone that would have sex with this toad needs mental help!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
endmillll goingorgone January 14 2014 at 10:33 AM

What can i say,, when i was a drinker after 12 beers they all looked good..

Flag Reply +2 rate up
gerber100 January 14 2014 at 10:16 AM

So, what else is new? When this stuff goes on in everyday life to ordinary citizens why would the powerful and influential be exempt? They should stop misrepresenting themselves.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dadhot January 14 2014 at 10:08 AM

This will actually improve his image. French voters weren't sure he was capable of having sex.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Gordon Goede January 14 2014 at 1:37 PM

Good Lord! The french don't have affairs, they have diversions! Unlike the English who have dalliances! (sp?) Well, you get the idea!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Cheryl January 14 2014 at 5:13 PM

He must be running for office again and wanting publicity as all do while in France

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
sun1045 Cheryl January 14 2014 at 5:41 PM

Guess running a socialistic economy/country isn't as important as jungling women....

Flag Reply +1 rate up
chckpope January 14 2014 at 10:01 AM

Looks like Pepe Le Pew is at it again, you had to know it was an actress he was fooling around with, she's good at pretending.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
louierey January 14 2014 at 9:57 AM

Like Jay Leno said last night, "That's the difference between France and America. In France, if a guy is found cheating the woman has to be hospitalized. In America, the guy is the one that finds himself in the hospital." There's a lot of truth to that.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
swifterman January 14 2014 at 9:51 AM

. . .
with NSA, CIA, Mossad, Mi5 and other SECRET government "services" in control - the temptation to sneak into the private life of politicians - is the fair & just price these idiots pay for selling their people to the criminal and ANTI-democratic secret agencys.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
mclark2960 January 14 2014 at 9:21 PM

He looks like a catcher

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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