By Elizabeth Pineau
PARIS (Reuters) - French first lady Valerie Trierweiler left hospital in Paris on Saturday, a week after reports emerged that her partner, President Francois Hollande, was having an affair with the actress Julie Gayet, a member of Trierweiler's staff said.
Trierweiler left the Pitie Salpetriere hospital just after 1400 GMT (9 a.m. EST) and is resting at the president's residence at La Lanterne, the official said, confirming a report in Paris Match magazine, for which Trierweiler works.
Paris Match said Trierweiler was expected to spend a few days at La Lanterne, near the Chateau de Versailles on the outskirts of Paris, citing sources close to Hollande.
The president's office declined to comment.
Trierweiler was admitted to hospital on January 10 after the gossip magazine Closer published what it said were images of Hollande making a nocturnal visit to Gayet's pied-a-terre apartment in the upmarket eighth arrondissement of Paris.
Hollande, who visited Trierweiler in hospital on Thursday, according to a source in his office, was in his old parliamentary constituency of Tulle, in central France, on Saturday. His speech there made no reference to the matter.
The reports of the affair with Gayet, which Hollande has neither confirmed nor denied, have raised questions about whether Trierweiler will continue to occupy the unofficial position of France's "first lady" and accompany the president on state visits.
Hollande pledged at a news conference on Tuesday to clarify Trierweiler's status ahead of a trip to the United States scheduled for February 9. He brushed off questions about the alleged affair.
He said everyone in their personal life could "face trials" and that "that is our case", adding that "these are painful moments".
The president has insisted on his right to a private life and has pursued business largely as usual, unveiling his economic reform plans for the rest of his five-year presidency at the Tuesday event and giving a keynote speech to French diplomats on Friday.
While the reports surrounding Hollande, Trierweiler and Gayet have hit the headlines internationally, the French are traditionally indulgent of their leaders' sexual indiscretions.
In a poll carried out by BVA for the French TV channel iTele published on Saturday, three-quarters of those interviewed thought Hollande was right not to answer questions about his private life, with 62 percent considering it was a private matter that concerned only him.
Before the publication in Closer, Hollande had become the least popular French president in modern times, largely due to tax increases, recession and high unemployment, compounded by a reputation for dithering.
(Writing by James Regan; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Alister Doyle)
- Arts & Entertainment
- Valerie Trierweiler
- Francois Hollande
- Julie Gayet