Au revoir to the 'Rottweiler' – but bonjour more trouble for Hollande
Two weeks after rumours of the French president's relationship with an actress were revealed, Francois Hollande has separated from his first lady, Valerie Trierweiler. Anne-Elisabeth Moutet reports from Paris
The president's indecision was nearly final. On Saturday, after denials and counter-denials from the Elysee, Francois Hollande finally announced, "as a private person" supposedly wholly distinct from Francois Hollande the President of France, that he was separating from his partner of eight years (or possibly nine, or 10), Valerie Trierweiler, bringing to a close an 11-day crisis that started with the publication, on January 17, of pictures showing him coming out of a lover's flat.
Hollande had been having a two-year affair with Julie Gayet, an arthouse film actress and separated mother of two who had been introduced to the president by his son.
Until the end, Trierweiler had hoped to salvage her de facto first lady's position. When, three days ago, her habitual lawyer, Frederique Giffard, dared to suggest in an interview that her mercurial client wished for a "proper and dignified exit", Trierweiler promptly fired her. Coming out of hospital last week, after recuperating from the shock caused by the scandal, she had insisted on staying at the presidential weekend residence, La Lanterne, a hunting lodge in the park of Versailles, rather than the 15th arrondissement flat where she and Hollande still lived together until a few months ago.