Citing ‘Right to Privacy’, French President Threatens to Sue Magazine Over Story Alleging Affair with Actress

Francois Hollande (Credit: AFP)
Francois Hollande (Credit: AFP)

President Francois Hollande may sue French magazine Closer over its report he is having an affair with actress Julie Gayet, after months of swirling rumours.

Closer carried a seven-page report yesterday on the 59-year-old President’s alleged infidelity, under the headline, “Francois Hollande and Julie Gayet – the President’s secret love”.

The weekly tabloid 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 Mr 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 actress Julie Gayet (Credit: AFP)
French actress Julie Gayet (Credit: AFP)

Mr Hollande condemned the report as an “attack on the right to privacy”, to which he “like every other citizen has a right”.

Respected news weekly l’Express had reported last month that the presidential palace’s security services were becoming increasingly concerned by Mr Hollande’s frequent “escapades”.

Closer said the pictures raised security concerns by showing that the head of state was accompanied by only one bodyguard when he trekked halfway across Paris to Gayet’s flat.

The bodyguard “even brings the croissants”, Closer said.

Mr Hollande lives with his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, a journalist for whom he left fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children.

Gayet, who appeared in one of his 2012 election commercials, filed a complaint in March over rumours of the affair, which she said were a breach of privacy.

Last month, French actor Stephane Guillon made repeated innuendos on the subject during a talk show. Gayet appeared uneasy but laughed with him when he said Mr Hollande had been visiting the film set and that Ms Trierweiler was less enthusiastic about the film than Mr Hollande.

If confirmed, the relationship would perpetuate a long French tradition of philandering presidents and senior politicians.