French President denies affair with actress
Allegations of an affair between French President Francois Hollande and film actress Julie Gayet are spicing up the gossip columns of Paris.PT2M1S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-30n25 620 349 January 11, 2014
French magazine Closer says President Francois Hollande is having an affair with actress Julie Gayet, backing its claim with photographs after months of swirling rumours.
Closer's Friday edition carried a seven-page report on the 59-year-old president's alleged infidelity under the headline "Francois Hollande and Julie Gayet - the president's secret love."
The weekly tabloid's actions earned a rapid rebuke from the president, who said he was considering legal action over what he called an "attack" on his right to privacy.
Francois Hollande, centre, with the Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, left, and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Elysee Palace in Paris this week. Photo: Reuters
Closer, echoing reports published on various websites in recent days, said Mr Hollande routinely drives through Paris on his scooter to spend the night with his 41-year-old mistress.
"Around New Year's Day, a helmeted head of state joined the actress at her apartment, where he has got into the habit of spending the night," Closer wrote on its website.
Speaking in a personal capacity, Mr Hollande condemned the report as an "attack on the right to privacy," to which he "like every other citizen has a right".
Rumours: Julie Gayet pictured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. Photo: AFP
The president, in a statement released exclusively to AFP, said he was "looking into possible action, including legal action," against the weekly magazine.
Respected news weekly L'Express had last month reported that the presidential palace's security services were increasingly concerned by Mr Hollande's frequent "escapades".
Closer said the pictures raised security concerns by showing that the head of state is accompanied by only one bodyguard when he treks halfway across Paris to Gayet's flat.
The bodyguard "even brings the croissants", Closer said.
Mr Hollande lives with his partner Valerie Trierweiler, a journalist for whom he left fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children.
Gayet, who appeared in one of Mr Hollande's 2012 election commercials, filed a complaint in March over rumours of the affair which she said were a breach of privacy.
Gayet, a mother of two, is an established television and cinema character actress who has appeared in more than 50 films.
She had a leading part in Quai d'Orsay, a 2013 satirical film centred on the French foreign ministry. Her filmography also includes the titles Shall We Kiss? and My Best Friend.
If confirmed, Mr Hollande's relationship with Gayet would perpetuate a long French tradition of philandering presidents and senior politicians.