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French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler ready to forgive President Francois Hollande

Tuesday, 14 January 2014 - 10:38am IST | Place: Paris | Agency: Daily Telegraph
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Valerie Trierweiler is "ready to forgive" French President Francois Hollande for having a secret affair with Julie Gayet, a 41-year-old actress, a friend of hers reportedly said on Monday. It also emerged she will remain in hospital for another week due to the "emotional shock" of the French president's apparent admission of infidelity.

The 48-year old official First Lady, admitted to hospital on Friday due to depression and extreme fatigue, said Mr Hollande must provide "clarification" over his intentions.

Trierweiler's reported leniency to her wayward partner followed revelations in Closer, a glossy weekly magazine, that the president has been having regular trysts with Gayet over the past months in a flat a stone's throw from the Elysee Palace.

The 59-year old Socialist leader faces the toughest hour of his presidency on Tuesday when he will be grilled by the world's media at a traditional New Year's press conference on his economic reforms and, undoubtedly, his "secret affair".

Hollande has threatened legal action for violation of his private life but has not denied the allegations.

Trierweiler has made no formal comment since the disclosure. Le Parisien reported on Monday that she had no intention of immediately ending her relationship with Hollande, despite the furore. "She seems prepared to forgive [him], she doesn't want to slam the door on a whim," a "close friend" told the French capital's daily. "But she wants to know very quickly what Francois Hollande's intentions are."

According to Frederic Gerschel, a reporter who spoke to Trierweiler on Sunday, she only learnt of the affair on Thursday when Mr Hollande told her in person. His announcement struck Trierweiler "like a TGV [fast train] smashing into the buffers", a friend is quoted as recounting. "Naturally, she couldn't ignore the rumours that swirled around Paris in the past few weeks. She simply chose to believe they were false. For her, they have always formed a couple."

She had good reason to believe this, the paper added, as the president spent New Year's Eve with his official partner at the Lanterne, a presidential retreat next to the Versailles Palace, and Boxing Day with Miss Trierweiler's family in a Paris suburb. He apparently had a busy private schedule, as according to Closer, he spent the nights of December 30 and January 1 with Miss Gayet. They used a flat normally occupied by an actress friend of hers, whose ex-husband and former partner both had alleged ties to the Corsican mafia.

Despite the meetings, a friend said he and Miss Trierweiler "absolutely didn't live in separate wings of the Elysee as some have said". The source also quashed rumours that Miss Treirweiler had tried to commit suicide. She had been taken to hospital as a "preventative measure" and her doctor had prescribed her "10 days of rest" due to stress and low blood pressure, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, the photographer who took the pictures that accompanied the Closer article said the president's security detail left once Mr Hollande went inside the building, and that they did not return until the next morning. "From the moment he was in the apartment his security detail left," Sebastien Valiela told RTL radio, adding that if he had been ill-intentioned it would have been easy to try to attack the president.

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