Former French president Francois Hollande has made no secret of his dislike of the current presidential couple, and now it’s been revealed that he and his partner like to poke fun at the 25-year age gap between Emmanuel Macron and his wife.
Authors of Madame The President, journalists Ava Djamshidi and Nathalie Schuck, claim in their book that Hollande and Gayet, who themselves have an age difference of 18 years, refer to 67-year-old Brigitte Macron‘s as ‘the old one’.
Hollande, 66, who famously started dating actress Julie Gayet, 48, when he was French President and in a relationship with journalist Valerie Trieiweiler, has talked openly of his dislike of this successor, Emmanuel Macron, 42.
In a new report on the book, French magazine Gala said that the couple joked at dinner parties that Emmanuel Macron couldn’t have delayed his run for President until 2022 because his wife would be ‘too old’.
The book was published last year but it’s only now that the French media has pulled out some of the juicier details of the investigation into how Brigitte has performed in her role as First Lady.
Julie Gayet, 48 and former French president Francois Hollande, 66, are claimed to have nicknamed Brigitte Macron, 67, ‘the old one’ (pictured together in October 2019)
Former literature teacher Brigitte famously met her future second husband while he was a teenager in high school.
‘Before the election, many dinner guests claimed they overhead them laughing and explaining that Emmanuel Macron had no choice but to run in 2017, because his wife would have been too old in 2022,’ the authors wrote.
This is in spite of the fact that, at 66-years-old, Hollande is only a year younger than Brigitte Macron.
Gayet, who is 48, six years older than Emmanuel Macron, has criticised Brigitte’s attitude towards her several times.
Brigitte Macron is 24 years older than her husband Emmanuel Macron, who became president in 2017 and who she met when he was 15 (pictured together in Vilnius in September 2020)
While the two women have always kept a polite demeanour the few times they’ve appeared together in public, there have been numerous reports that the courtesy was not extended to behind-the-scenes.
Gayet reportedly sent an angry text to French First Lady Brigitte Macron for excluding her from a party at the Elysée Palace – and inviting her love rival instead.
The claim was made in Paris Match magazine, which interviewed Hollande and Ms Gayet and spoke to their associates for a feature – however the actress asked not to be quoted directly in the piece.
Whether the story came directly from Gayet or someone close to her is unclear, but the magazine reports that the actress, 47, was enraged when Ms Macron, 66, failed to invite her to a lunch for former First Ladies at the Elysée Palace in 2019 – and even sent her an angry message to complain.
Julie Gayet and Brigitte Macron are said to have an icy relationship. Pictured: The French First Lady in February 2020
To add salt to the wound, the lunch was attended by none other than Valerie Trierweiler, Hollande’s former partner whom he very publicly cheated on with Ms Gayet in 2014.
The magazine also reported Ms Gayet referring to Emmanuel Macron as ‘the traitor’ for threatening to cut public funding for her partner’s French-American Foundation.
Although Ms Gayet shunned a public role as First Lady, she lived at the Elysée Palace with Hollande until he was ousted by Emmanuel Macron in 2017.
However, Ms Macron chose not to invite her to the lunch with former French First Ladies at the palace.
Guests included Carla Bruni, the wife of Nicolas Sarkozy, who was Head of State from 2007 to 2012, and Valerie Trierweiler, who was dating Francois Hollande from 2007 until his infidelity was exposed in 2014.
Ms Gayet had kept silent at the time, but her absence at the occasion had raised eyebrows among journalists and political watchers, who had wondered why she was not on the guest list.
Hollande’s relations with his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy are also reported to be complicated.
Sarkozy was the one who alerted the press to his successor François Hollande’s affair in 2014, two journalists have claimed.
Fabrice Lhomme and Gérard Davet, who work for the renowned French publication Le Monde, made the revelation during a radio show on Europe I in February, reported French tabloid Voici.
The two men claimed that they were tipped off about Hollande’s infidelity by none other than Nicolas Sarkozy, who summoned them to his offices because he was annoyed with their investigation into allegations of financial irregularity during his 2012 re-election campaign.
Mid-rant, he reportedly told them to ‘look into Hollande’s business,’ and added that the president regularly visited a ‘good friend’, despite being a long-term relationship with author Valerie Treierweiler.
While the two men did not follow through themselves, the news hit the French tabloids three months later, with pictures of Hollande riding a scooter to Gayet’s Parisian apartment, a scandal that no one has forgotten yet.
‘We go see Nicolas Sarkozy in his offices, we get told off for half an hour – it’s always quite violent,’ recalled Gérard Davet.
‘Then, he says: “You should look into Francois Hollande. Rumour has it he rides a scooter out of the Elysee to see his good friend. Very often,” and bam, three months later it’s in Closer.’
They added that there was a lot of animosity between the rivals, with Hollande unseating Sarkozy in the 2012 election, making him the first incumbent president to lose since 1981.