Francois Hollande’s annual news conference was supposed to be about policy and the economy.
Instead, just about everyone was waiting for the question. (Via Twitter)
You see, last week, an expose in a French gossip magazine hit newsstands detailing an alleged affair between Hollande and French film actress Julie Gayet. (Via Closer)
Hollande, while not married, is in a relationship with journalist Valerie Trierweiler. She's considered to be the French First Lady. (Via CBS)
Following the reports, she was admitted to the hospital for rest, according to her spokesman. (Via NBC)
When asked about the affair, Hollande told reporters, “I have one principle — private matters must be treated privately.” (Via BBC)
French paper Le Monde predicted the news conference would be a “catastrophic scenario” — but his response to the affair question was met with silence from reporters.
It’s hard to imagine the White House press corps reacting the same way. But then, the French have always had a pretty blasé attitude when it comes to the private lives of their politicians, and it's something the media has typically turned a blind eye to.
And there's no better example than former President Francois Mitterrand. He had a secret family — something well-known in the media, but kept hidden for most of his term. (Via Institut National de l'Audiovisuel)
So it’s perhaps no surprise then a recent poll found 77 percent of French voters said they considered Hollande’s love life a private matter. Eighty-four percent said the rumors hadn’t changed their opinion about Hollande. (Via Le Journal du Dimanche)
And while he was already the least popular president in modern French history before the revelations. (Via Channel 4)
News of the alleged affair sent his poll numbers went up slightly — up two percent among women voters. Still many observers say getting back on message could prove tough. (Via Le Nouvel Observateur)
“It can color what happens, even if it doesn’t seriously affect it. But he has done so badly in his presidency that he needs to turn it around somehow.” (Via France 24)
Hollande has not denied or confirmed reports of the affair, though he has threatened legal action against the magazine.