French first lady leaves hospital
Published 18/01/2014 | 19:42
France's first lady has ended a more than week-long stay at a hospital where she went to rest after a gossip magazine's report about an alleged affair between President Francois Hollande and an actress.
A member of Valerie Trierweiler's entourage confirmed she left La Pitie-Salpetriere hospital today.
Ms Trierweiler's destination was not immediately clear. Her January 10 admission to hospital added a new dimension to the president's troubles that erupted after Closer magazine reported that Mr Hollande was seeing actress Julie Gayet.
The president has said he would clarify his domestic situation before a February 11 state visit to Washington, when Ms Trierweiler would normally accompany him.
Hours after Ms Trierweiler left hospital, she thanked her supporters.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who sent messages of support and recovery" by email or social media, she tweeted. "Very touched."
Closer magazine published photos showing a man it said was the president, wearing a helmet and seated on the back of a scooter, allegedly being taken to a rendezvous with Ms Gayet. Ms Trierweiler, whom Mr Hollande has never married, was hospitalised the following day.
Mr Hollande spent today in the rural central region of Correze, calling in a speech for national unity. He did not mention his private life.
Mr Hollande had acknowledged at a major news conference last Tuesday "painful moments" in his relationship with Ms Trierweiler.
Mr Hollande visited Ms Trierweiler at the hospital on Thursday evening, his only visit there.
The president has mostly dodged journalists' questions about his situation, invoking his desire for respect for his private life - a French tradition that is gradually falling away.
The Socialist president broke new ground on the presidential domestic scene upon his election in 2012, becoming the first French leader to arrive in office unmarried and with a live-in companion.
The couple have lived together since 2007, after Mr Hollande ended his long-standing relationship with Segolene Royal, with whom he has four children. Mr Hollande and Ms Royal, the Socialist Party's unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2007, never married.
Like his predecessor, conservative rival Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr Hollande has not taken up residence in the apartments of the Elysee Palace, using it simply for official business.