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Scandalous Presidential Affairs in France

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Jacques Chirac

Scandalous Presidential Affairs in France
From Private to Public

In modern society, extramarital romances have become frequent. For ordinary people, an affair might not be as dangerous for their public image, but for politicians or famous artists, it can mean the end of their careers and social criticism.

In France, since the seventeenth century, high profile romantic scandals took by surprise the public opinion with the marriage of Napoleon and Josephine, when the French emperor had several lovers during that period. Napoleon had his first child with Louise Eleonore Denuelle La Plaigne, one of his lovers, clearing the doubts and rumors about his capacity to procreate.

Later, the relationship between Napoleon and Josephine deteriorated even more, and in 1807, after the conquest of Poland, Napoleon fell in love with a Polish girl called Maria Walewska, which eventually mothered his son Alexandre. Their affair lasted about four years until Emperor exile on the island of Elba.

The imperial marriage lasted 13 years, until 1809, when Napoleon filed for divorce from his wife, to marry Maria Luisa, 18, and daughter of the Emperor of Austria.

In modern times, it is remembered the strong character of Danielle Mitterrand, who had to endure a wave of information about her husband’s extramarital affairs, former French President, François Mitterrand (on presidency 1981-1995), published after his death 1996.

The story continued with each of Mitterrand’s successors: Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande. The first (married to Bernadette Chirac, a woman of aristocratic origin) had several romances and even rumors of an illegitimate daughter. Despite the apparent problems in the Chirac marriage, Bernadette remained beside Jacques and always advocated in favor of the conveniences of a married president.

The next tenant of the Elysée, Nicolas Sarkozy, also put his name on the list of presidents with romantic scandals. The President between 2007 and 2012 entered the office while he was married to Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz, however, almost a year during his term, Sarkozy divorced to marry former model and Italian singer Carla Bruni, whom he had an affair with before.

The current French President, François Hollande, has been no exception when it comes to extramarital affairs and divorces. In January 1014, the French magazine Closer published an article which claimed that the president had a relationship with the actress Julie Gayet. The scandal took its toll for Hollande’s wife, Valérie Trierweiler, who had to be interned in a hospital for stress. The couple divorced and months later and Trierweiler published a book of her memoirs in which described Hollande as a “cold and manipulator liar”. Years before, in 2007, Hollande had already divorced Segolene Royal, the mother of his four sons, and current minister of government.

Return to The President’s Mistress


Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni

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