Sat, Jan 18, 2014 - Page 7 News List

French first lady’s condition improving

AP, PARIS

A combination made on Monday shows a photo of French Poitou-Charentes Regional Council President Segolene Royal, left, taken on Sept. 28, 2007, in Paris; a photo of French actress Julie Gayet, center, taken on May 20 last year in Cannes; and a photo of Valerie Trierweiler, French journalist and companion of French President Francois Hollande, taken on Dec. 2 last year in Creteil, near Paris.

Photo: AFP

France’s first lady is making progress in a hospital where she is receiving care following a gossip magazine’s report that French President Francois Hollande was having a secret affair with an actress, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Valerie Trierweiler was hospitalized on Jan. 9 for rest after the weekly Closer’s report about Hollande and actress Julie Gayet. It alleged that Hollande, wearing a helmet with darkened visor, sneaked into an apartment near the presidential palace by motorcycle to meet Gayet.

The allegation has dented a tradition among French media of ignoring the private lives of public figures. Hollande has acknowledged “painful moments” in his relationship with Trierweiler, and said the question of who the first lady is would be clarified before his trip on Feb. 11 to the US for a state visit that she had been expected to attend.

“I can tell you Madame Trierweiler is still in the hospital, and her doctors will determine when she can leave,” Patrice Biancone, her spokesman, said by telephone.

Trierweiler’s condition is progressing, Biancone added.

“She has six days of rest behind her — that counts, after all,” he said, without elaborating.

Biancone appeared to suggest that Hollande has not visited her.

“All visits have been forbidden ... except for the family — and even then, just her son,” Biancone said, declining to specify which one of Trierweiler’s three sons from her previous marriage had.

He did not identify the hospital, or indicate whether Hollande had been in direct communication with her, saying that was a private matter.

An official in Hollande’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Trierweiler had been hospitalized for “a crisis of nerves” after learning of the alleged affair a day before the magazine newsstands.

Also on Thursday, a Closer representative said Gayet had filed a lawsuit against the magazine for alleged invasion of privacy over its report. The magazine has received legal documents laying out the suit which seeks 54,000 euros (US$74,000) in damages and other fees, plus the publication of a summary of any judicial ruling in the case on its front page.

The representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter, declined to comment further.

Asked about the matter at a news conference on Tuesday, Hollande said his “indignation is total” about the report, but stopped short of denying the allegations or saying whether he would sue Closer.

Hollande, 59, is a lifelong bachelor, but has four children with former presidential candidate Segolene Royal — a fellow Socialist.

He and Trierweiler, a 48-year-old journalist, have lived together since 2007.

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