French President Hollande confirms Trierweiler split

BBC's Tim Allman: "Francois Hollande had once called Valerie Trierweiler the love of his life"

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French President Francois Hollande has confirmed his separation from his partner Valerie Trierweiler.

He told the AFP news agency that their "shared life" had ended.

Two weeks ago a magazine published photos which appeared to show Mr Hollande had been having an affair with an actress, Julie Gayet.

Ms Trierweiler spent a week in hospital after the revelations. On Saturday evening she tweeted her thanks to the "wonderful staff" at the Elysee Palace.

She said she "would never forget their devotion or the emotion at the time of departure".

Analysis

Thus ends a remarkable emotional saga that has captivated the French - and the world - for the last two weeks. It was probably inevitable that it would end like this, with Valerie Trierweiler quitting the Elysee.

But the lack of any official communication had given rise to all sorts of rumours. Right until Francois Hollande came out with his personal statement breaking their relationship, it was impossible to rule out a reconciliation.

What happens now? Well, the president has not said it publicly, but his entourage have passed on the message: for the time being there will be no replacement for the ex-first lady. Indeed, Mr Hollande is said to regret ever elevating Ms Trierweiler to the position in the first place, as her unease in the role clearly posed problems from the start.

As for Julie Gayet, we shall have to see how he continues his relationship with her. Maybe she will become an acknowledged part of his life, but without any official role and certainly not moving into the Elysee. Perhaps at some point she will start being seen with him, and accompanying him on trips.

But probably that won't be any time soon. Right now the president would probably prefer some time tangle-free.

Mr Hollande, who has never denied having an affair with Julie Gayet, had admitted to a "difficult moment" in his relationship with Ms Trierweiler.

At the time of the revelations, he promised to clarify the situation before his official visit to Washington on 11 February.

Mr Hollande told AFP on Saturday that he was speaking in a personal capacity and not as the head of state.

"I am making it known that I have put an end to my shared life with Valerie Trierweiler," he said in a phone call to the agency.

Ms Trierweiler, who has continued to work as a journalist for the glossy magazine Paris-Match, is due to travel to India on Sunday in support of the work of the French charity Action Against Hunger.

After leaving hospital, she stayed at an official presidential residence near Versailles, for a few days.

Ms Trierweiler and Mr Hollande have never married.

She announced their relationship six months after he left his previous partner, one-time French presidential candidate Segolene Royal, with whom he has four children.

For her part, Ms Gayet has announced she is suing Closer magazine, which published the original reports, for breach of privacy.

Closer magazine said that the affair had begun during the 2012 presidential race.

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