François Hollande's relationship with Julie Gayet 'goes back more than two years'

Closer magazine said the 41-year-old actress had first been introduced to Mr Hollande by his former partner Ségolène Royal

Paris

The relationship between President François Hollande and the actress Julie Gayet goes back for over two years, Closer magazine said on Friday.

The magazine, which revealed the affair a week ago, said that the 41-year-old actress had been introduced to Mr Hollande by his former partner Ségolène Royal in 2011 when he was a front-running presidential candidate.

Their romantic affair can be traced back at least 12 months to December 2012, Closer said, but their relationship was already "intimate" during the presidential campaign in the spring of that year.

Meanwhile, Ms Gayet, breaking her silence about the affair, has formally denied in a statement to Europe 1 radio reports that she is four months pregnant. An unsourced rumour of her pregnancy, which appeared briefly on a French blog, was picked up by some foreign media earlier this week.

President Hollande, it emerged today, paid a first visit to his official partner, Valérie Trierweiler in hospital in Paris last night. Ms Trierweiler had complained to friends that Mr Holande had failed to visit her for six days. Sources in the Elysée Palace said the president had been following medical advice.

French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler 'took one pill too many' after learning of Hollande affair  

Closer magazine published a two-page account of the Hollande-Gayet relationship today under the headline: "They have loved each other for two years".

The couple were first seen together at a large apartment near the Elysée Palace in December 2012, the magazine said. They moved their meetings elsewhere when the concierge of the building tried to photograph them together.

After a break last Spring, when Valérie Trierweiler became suspicious, the affair resumed in June, Closer said. A small apartment in the Rue du Cirque (circus street), 200 metres from the Elysée Palace, became available.

"From that moment onwards, the head of state and the actress were constantly together, visiting the apartment around 20 times," Closer said.

It was outside the building in the Rue du Cirque that President Hollande, 59, was photographed, disguised in a large black motor-cycle helmet, on the morning of 31 December.

Valerie Trierweiler, Mr Hollande’s partner Valerie Trierweiler, Mr Hollande’s partner Other reports in the French press today suggest that President Hollande is ready to end his seven years old romantic partnership with Ms Trierweiler, 49. According to Le Parisien, the Elysee Palace had considered making a statement that the relationship was over last weekend. This had to be abandoned when Ms Trierweier leaked to a journalist friend that she had entered hospital suffering from a "severe attack of the blues".

At his press conference on Tuesday, Mr Hollande promised to make a statement on his relationship with Ms Trierweiler  - and whether she remained First Lady - before a planned visit by the couple to the Obamas in Washington on 11 February.

According to Closer, the President and the actress also spent a weekend together at Mr Hollande's holiday home at Mougins in the south of France on 28-29 September."At the Cabaret de Saint-Petersbourg, a brand new restaurant in Mougins, they have a clear memory of Julie Gayet and Francois Hollande dining their alone," the magazine said.  

Valerie Trierweiler: French First Lady Demands 'Rapid Clarification' Of Her Status

Other reports in the French press today suggest that President Hollande is ready to end his seven years old romantic partnership with Ms Trierweiler, 49. According to Le Parisien, the Elysée Palace had considered making a statement that the relationship was over last weekend. This had to be abandoned when Ms Trierweier leaked to a journalist friend that she had entered hospital suffering from a "severe attack of the blues".

At his press conference on Tuesday, Mr Hollande promised to make a statement on his relationship with Ms Trierweiler- and whether she remained First Lady - before a planned visit by the couple to the Obamas in Washington on 11 February.

Reports from within the Elysée Palace suggest that Mr Hollande has been energised, rather than unnerved, by the revelation of his affair with Ms Gayet. "He is managing this business as if it was a political problem, not a romantic problem," a friend of the President told Le Parisien.

Ségolène Royal, Hollande's former partner Ségolène Royal, Hollande's former partner Other visitors to the Elysée have described a man who seems "calm", "happy" and "liberated" after Tuesday's press conference. The President's refusal to comment on theaffair in detail have been mocked in the rest of the world.

The consensus of the French media and political classes is that the two hour performance by Mr Hollande was a "tour de force". His plans to move to a more market-oriented economic policy, and to relieve the payroll tax burden on French industry, have been widely praised, even by some opposition politicians on the centre-right.

A kind of briefing war has now started between the Elysée and Ms Trierweiler, who remains in the La Pitié-Salpetrière hospital, suffering from depression and low blood pressure. She has told visitors that she is "very hurt" that the President has not visited her in hospital.

The Elysée let it be known that Mr Hollande had stayed away on the advice of her doctors. He had sent her flowers and chocolates and spoken to her mobile phone and by text.

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