Wednesday 18 October 2017

There are no winners in this 'love square'

Hollande's refusal to speak on his alleged affair has heightened people's curiosity, writes Aoife Drew

Julie Gayet. Photo by LYDIE/NIKO/NIVIERE/SIPA/REX
Julie Gayet. Photo by LYDIE/NIKO/NIVIERE/SIPA/REX
Aoife Drew

Aoife Drew

FORGET love triangles. The "Affaire Gayet" is being called the love square, with a different player at each corner. French President Francois Hollande occupies one, and the three ladies in his life the others: Julie Gayet, a stunning 41-year-old actress with whom he is allegedly having an affair; Valerie Trierweiler, his 48-year-old official partner; and Segolene Royal, his ex-partner of over 30 years, a well-known politician in her own right, and the mother of his four children.

It's complicated, bien sur. And Hollande doesn't want to talk about it, as he made clear at his press conference last week (albeit a totally undemocratic press conference organised by the president's staff, in which journalists were allowed to raise only one question and not pursue questioning, regardless of the president's responses). His refusal to speak on the subject, and the expression of his "total indignation" on the invasion of his private life, served only to make it into the number one topic French people want to talk about at the moment.

Yes, 77 per cent of those questioned in a survey by newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche said that this was a private matter concerning only the president. But Closer, the magazine that revealed the story, saw its regular sales figures rise from 330,000 to 600,000 and the media tsunami that resulted from the publication of the photos tells a different tale.

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