French First Lady in Hospital Following Report of Presidential Affair

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Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 12 2014 1:36 PM

French First Lady in Hospital Following Report of Presidential Affair

450198273-french-president-francois-sits-next-to-his-companion
French President Francois Hollande sits next to his companion Valerie Trierweiler on his arrival to Tel Aviv, Israel in November

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

French first lady Valerie Trierweiler was hospitalized Friday following a media report of an alleged affair between President Francois Hollande and an actress. The newspaper Le Parisien reported Friday that the 48-year-old Trierweiler was taken to the hospital after she was shaken up by the report in celebrity magazine Closer alleging Hollande was having an affair with Julie Gayet. The first lady’s spokesman confirmed to Reuters that Trierweiler has been in the hospital since Friday but said she will leave tomorrow. Trierweiler, a journalist, and Hollande are not married.

Hollande has not denied the allegations, but on Friday he threatened to sue the magazine for violation of privacy. On Sunday, Hollande’s former partner, Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal, told a news channel the country should “turn the page” on the alleged affair. It seems the people agree. A poll found 77 percent of people believe the affair was a personal matter and 84 percent say the allegation does not change their opinion of Hollande, reports the Guardian. That’s not to say their opinions were good to begin with considering that polls suggest Hollande may be the most unpopular president in a generation, notes the BBC.

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In the Observer, Agnes Poirier describes all the talk about the president's indiscretions as “a very British scandal about a very French affair.” Poirier points out that there was a time when this kind of revelation would have never been news in the first place in a country that has long valued the privacy of its leaders. But the celebrity press now is leaving that traditional respect aside as it faces increasingly fierce competition from online news outlets and social media. “I belong to the generation that grew up under Mitterrand: a time when nobody would have dared to publish images showing the president going to a rendezvous and leaving the morning after,” she writes. “Well, let me rephrase: nobody would have dreamed of spending a whole night hiding outside a building to take such pictures.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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