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Hollande’s partner remains in hospital after revelations of President’s affair

Valerie Trierweiler and French President François Hollande attend the inauguration of the Auzelou community hall in Tulle, central France in this January 19, 2013 file photo.

Reuters

The woman considered France's first lady will remain in hospital for several more days to recover from a "very strong emotional shock" after revelations that President François Hollande is having an affair with an actress, a top aide says.

Valerie Trierweiler's chief of staff, Patrice Biancone, said she could be in hospital for six or eight more days. She was initially expected to leave on Monday after being admitted on Friday.

The scandal risks stealing the spotlight on Tuesday when Mr. Hollande is scheduled to hold his traditional start-of-year news conference. Pollsters say it is likely to further damage his record-low popularity ratings.

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French political players are urging Mr. Hollande to clarify his relationship with Ms. Trierweiler, who has a publicly funded office and staff. The couple are scheduled to make a state visit to the United States in February, including attending a state dinner with President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.

Ms. Trierweiler, a journalist, appears "ready to forgive" her long-time partner, Frédéric Gershel, a journalist with the newspaper le Parisien, wrote on Monday after interviewing her.

"She seems ready to forgive, she doesn't want to slam the door on a whim, but she wants to know very quickly what François Hollande's intentions are," the newspaper quoted a close friend as saying.

Mr. Gershel spoke with Ms. Trierweiler on Sunday and said she was "stunned" by the affair and was admitted to hospital on Friday as a precautionary measure. He reported that Mr. Hollande told her about the affair on Thursday evening, hours before a celebrity magazine published photos it said show the President visiting the apartment of French actress Julie Gayet.

"The scene took place in the halls of the Elysée [presidential palace] without blows or shouting," he wrote. "In a few words, the President acknowledged the existence of an affair with the actress Julie Gayet. … He denied nothing – not his scooter escapades with a bodyguard in the middle of the night, nor the frequency of his secret rendezvous, nor the date the 'love affair' … started several months ago."

Ms. Trierweiler had heard rumours that the President was having an affair, but she didn't want to believe them, the paper reported, again citing a friend.

"She was completely stunned. Of course, she didn't ignore the rumours that swirled around Paris for weeks. She just wanted to believe they were false. For her, they still were a couple."

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Mr. Hollande and Ms. Trierweiler spent part of the Christmas holidays together and do not live in separate wings of the Elysée, as has been rumoured, the paper said.

Mr. Hollande has threatened to sue celebrity magazine Closer, citing a breach of privacy after it said he was having an affair with Ms. Gayet. The magazine published a series of photos of a woman resembling Ms. Gayet entering a Paris flat close to the presidential palace, followed by a man masked by a black motorcycle helmet who the magazine said was Mr. Hollande.

Mr. Hollande has never married. He and Ms. Trierweiler have lived together since 2007.

With a report from Reuters.

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