French president angry over report on love life
FILE - This Sunday, May 6, 2012, file photo shows French president-elect Francois Hollande kissing his companion, Valerie Trierweiler, after greeting crowds gathered to celebrate his election victory in Bastille Square in Paris. Hollande is threatening legal action over magazine report saying he is having a secret affair with a French actress. The magazine Closer published images Friday Jan.10, 2014 showing his bodyguard and a helmeted man it says is Hollande visiting what it says is the apartment of the actress. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande threatened legal action Friday over a magazine report saying he is having a secret affair with an actress, the latest breach in the French media's practice of turning a blind eye to presidential love affairs.
Rumors have long circulated that the 59-year-old Hollande might have a lover. The magazine Closer published images Friday showing a bodyguard and a helmeted man it says is Hollande visiting the apartment of Julie Gayet, 41, a moderately known French actress who appeared in a clip for his 2012 presidential campaign.
French media faces strict privacy laws, as well as a longtime tradition of ignoring the private lives of public figures. Former President Francois Mitterrand had a daughter with his lover that the French media knew about but never revealed, until the president himself appeared publicly with his daughter coming out of a restaurant.
But the publication marked the latest incursion into the once-sacred private lives of French politicians. The tradition of keeping private lives private has been chipped away since Hollande's predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy divorced his wife Cecilia, who was having an affair, and remarried model and singer Carla Bruni.
FILE - In this Jan.7, 2012 file photo, French actress Julie Gayet poses at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala, in Palm Springs, Calif. French President Francois Hollande is threatening legal action over magazine report saying on Friday Jan.10, 2014 that he is having a secret affair with the French actress. Rumors have long circulated that Hollande might have a lover. The magazine Closer published images Friday showing his bodyguard and a helmeted man it says is Hollande visiting what it says is the apartment of the actress. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
Bloggers, tweeters and other online sources have tapped into public curiosity and pushed the borders of French privacy. Closer last made a splash when it published topless photos of British Prince William's wife, Kate.
Hollande said in a statement he "deeply deplores the attacks on respect for privacy, to which each citizen has a right." He is weighing possible action, including via the courts, it said. He did not address the alleged affair.
Hollande, who was dubbed "Monsieur Normal" by French media, has never married. He had four children with politician Segolene Royal, 60, and has been living in recent years with his partner, journalist Valerie Trierweiler, 48, considered France's first lady.
Gayet's lawyer and agent did not return phone and email messages Friday about the Closer report. The actress, who has performed in nearly four dozen films and sometimes appears on talk shows, praises Hollande in the campaign spot for his humility and character, and says he is someone who "really listens."
In 2003, Gayet married a filmmaker Santiago Amigorena, but they are no longer together.