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Hollande's affair: Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau in war of words over President's relationship with Julie Gayet


Two of France's most famous actresses are engaged in a public war of words over President François Hollande’s affair with Julie Gayet.

The doyenne of the French screen, Catherine Deneuve, 70, has sprung to Mr Hollande’s defence. Sophie Marceau, 47, who has satreed in Braveheart and The World is Not Enough has called the French president a “coward” and a “jerk” for cheating on his former partner, Valerie Trierweiller.

In an article in GQ magazine, Ms Marceau said: “A man who behaves like that with women is a jerk… To cheat on your partner for a  year and a half when you are President of the Republic! No one is asking him to be abstinent  but he could leave it alone  for a while. I said to myself: ‘What a coward’.”

Ms Deneuve responded by accusing Ms Marceau of being “very rude” – and lacking respect for the office of head of state.

“I find that very rude, extremely rude,” she said. “I am astonished at the casual way in which people, including journalists, speak about the President of the Republic.”

“A ‘jerk’ and a “coward”! You’d think she was talking about her best friend’s husband. It’s incredible. I wouldn’t talk about the President like that. Whether I supported him or not.”

Closer magazine revealed in January that Mr Hollande was having an affair with the actress Julie Gayet. He has since split with his unmarried partner, and First Lady, Ms Trierweiller.

Another actress, less well-known outside France, joined the battle yesterday. Charlotte Valandrey, 45, a friend of Ms  Trierweiler, said that the former first lady had been “humiliated” by Closer’s revelations but was a “fighter” and had recovered well.

Asked about Ms Marceau’s attack on the President, she said: “She is on the right track, isn’t she? It wasn’t a great way to behave.”