French President Splits with First Lady

French President François Hollande says he has separated from his partner of seven years, Valerie Trierweiler, following a media frenzy over reports he has been having an affair with an actress.

Hollande announced the split Saturday to the French news agency, AFP.

The announcement comes two weeks after a tabloid reported Hollande was having an affair with film actress Julie Gayet, who, at 41 years old, is nearly 20 years his junior.

Frances President François Hollande (right) and his companion Valerie Trierweiler take part in a march as part of a ceremony in tribute to the memory of Nazi victims in Tulle, southwestern France on June 9, 2012. /Reuters France's President François Hollande (right) and his companion Valerie Trierweiler take part in a march as part of a ceremony in tribute to the memory of Nazi victims in Tulle, southwestern France on June 9, 2012. /Reuters

The 59-year-old president is not married to the 48-year-old Trierweiler, a well-known journalist, but they had been together since 2006, and she had assumed the role of first lady following his election in 2012.

The announcement of the couple's separation comes just one day before Trierweiler is to travel to India for charity work. She was reportedly hospitalized for fatigue after news of the affair broke.

The French president was previously in a relationship with Segolene Royal, a senior member of his Socialist Party and a 2007 presidential candidate. They had four children together but split in 2007, just after she lost the presidential election to Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

VOA News / Jan. 27, 2014 07:53 KST