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Hollande, Valerie split

- Announcement on eve of Trierweiler’s India trip

Jan. 25: President François Hollande this evening announced “the end of his common life” with Valérie Trierweiler, ending more than two weeks of fevered speculation since the disclosure of his alleged affair with an actress.

Hollande’s terse statement to the Agence France-Presse (AFP) came a day before Trierweiler was due to fly to Mumbai for a charity event. It means she is no longer First Lady, a role she fulfilled with a staff of four based in an office at the Elysée Palace, although the presidential couple had never married.

Specifying that he was speaking in a personal capacity and not as head of state because the matter concerned his private life, Hollande said: “I’m making it known that I have ended the life in common which I shared with Valérie Trierweiler.”

Shortly before Hollande made the statement, Trierweiler’s private car was seen leaving the presidential retreat outside Paris where she had been staying for the past week.

Elysée sources said the couple had worked out details of their separation over lunch on Thursday, and Trierweiler, 48, would remain at the Paris flat the couple shared with her children by her former husband “for the time being”. The flat is in Hollande’s name.

Trierweiler’s planned trip to India — if she maintains the plan — will mark her first public engagement since the celebrity gossip magazine Closer reported that Hollande was enjoying nocturnal trysts with Julie Gayet, 41, a French actress.

It published pictures of what it said was the President wearing a helmet and arriving by scooter to meet her.

After learning of the affair, Trierweiler, 48, spent a week in hospital suffering from “nervous exhaustion” and “a big bout of the blues”. She then went to rest at La Lanterne, a former hunting lodge near the Palace of Versailles that serves as a presidential retreat. The Elysée denied rumours that she damaged furnishings in a fit of rage when Hollande told her of the scandal.

Hollande, 59, had promised to “clarify” whether she was still First Lady before a visit to Washington next month, but sources close to the President said he had been forced to bring forward the announcement to avoid confusion while Trierweiler appeared in public in India.

Many French people saw the trip as related to her public role as his partner although it was billed as “private” by the French charity that organised it, the Fight Hunger Foundation (ACF).

ACF said the visit was funded by private donors, with Air France providing free flights and the Taj Mahal hotel providing accommodation.

 
 
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