As Affair Leaks, French Leader Demands His Privacy
Francoise Hollande photographed leaving home of actress
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2014 12:08 PM CST
French President Francois Hollande.   (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)
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(Newser) – French President Francoise Hollande gives an important speech on Tuesday in which he's supposed to lay out his economic vision, but he just got a very unwanted distraction. The French magazine Closer revealed yesterday that the 59-year-old was having an affair with 41-year-old actress Julie Gayet, reports the BBC. Hollande didn't deny it, but he said he “profoundly deplores the violations of the respect of private life, to which he has the right, like any citizen," and he hinted at legal action.

For the record, Hollande has never married, but France has a de facto first lady in girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler, who is not to be confused with Hollande's previous long-term partner, Segolene Royal. So how is France reacting? Pick your favorite narrative:

  • New York Times: "In an era of mass violations of personal privacy, including widespread mining of French phone data revealed by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, Mr. Hollande’s appeal for confidentiality appears to have resonated in the country."
  • Time: "So when Hollande tried to turn back the tide on Friday by claiming the right to privacy, he got little sympathy from the curious public."
Hollande makes an official visit to the US next month, and as of now, Trierweiler is scheduled to accompany him.