Hollande confirms separation from partner
French President Francois Hollande has separated from his partner Valerie Trierweiler, according to a statement he delivered through the state-backed Agence France Presse news agency.
Breaking his silence, Hollande sought to put an end to a media storm that erupted two weeks ago when celebrity magazine Closer published a report that the president was having an affair with film actress Julie Gayet.
First lady Trierweiler, 48, Hollande's partner since 2006, plans to travel to India tomorrow for a charity trip and the president wants to settle the issue of their future before her departure, the newspaper said.Two weeks ago, celebrity magazine Closer published a report that Hollande was having an affair with French actress Julie Gayet. It ran pictures of what it said was the president wearing a motorcycle helmet arriving via scooter to visit Gayet for nocturnal trysts.
The ensuing media storm has diverted public attention from a shift Hollande has made this month towards more business-friendly policies, which he hopes will revive the euro zone's second-biggest economy in the face of high unemployment.
A press conference to unveil the economic plans was overshadowed by questions over Hollande's private life, as was a trip to Rome to meet the pope on Friday.
Hollande, 59, is the most unpopular president in modern France, according to polls. He has struggled to live up to a promise to get unemployment, currently stuck near 11 percent, firmly on a downward trend.
He has four children from a previous relationship with Segolene Royal, a senior member of his Socialist Party and a 2007 presidential candidate. Royal announced their separation just after she lost the 2007 election to Nicolas Sarkozy.
Trierweiler, an arts columnist for weekly magazine Paris Match, is not married to Hollande but assumed the role of first lady at official functions following his election in May 2012.