|President Hollande(left), Valerie Trierweiler (Yonhap)|
French President Francois Hollande announced his separation from unofficial first lady Valerie Trierweiler on Saturday following media reports over allegations of his affair with an actress.
“I am letting it be known that I have put an end to the life I shared with Valerie Trierweiler,” the president said in a telephone call to the French News agency, emphasizing he is speaking as an individual since it concerns his private life.
The announcement came two weeks after Closer magazine first reported he was having an affair with the film actress and Socialist Party supporter Julie Gayet, who also appeared in one of his 2012 election campaign commercials.
The 59-year-old president has officially lived with former journalist Valerie Trierweiler for seven years after he left fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children. Trierweiler, 48, is to remain at Hollande’s Paris flat the couple shared with her children by her former husband for the moment after moving out of the presidential residence.
A recent poll showed Hollande as the most unpopular president in modern France. He has struggled to live up to a promise to get unemployment, currently stuck near 11 percent, firmly on a downward trend. The affairs of French politicians have in the past little impact on public opinion, including former Socialist president Francois Mitterrand, who had a daughter with his mistress.
By Yoon Ha-youn and news reports (firstname.lastname@example.org