Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- French President Francois Hollande and actress Julie Gayet may have started their affair in 2011, before his May 2012 election, Closer magazine said today without citing anyone. Gayet separately denied reports she was pregnant.
Closer said Gayet, 41, a mother of two children from her marriage to Argentinian script-writer Santiago Amigorena, may have met Hollande through Segolene Royal, his former partner and mother of his four children.
Breaking her silence on the liaison last night, Gayet called Europe 1 radio to deny speculation in social media that she was pregnant.
Closer’s latest report comes as Valerie Trierweiler, Hollande’s companion and France’s First Lady, remains hospitalized. Trierweiler, a journalist, was admitted to a Paris hospital after learning of the affair. Hollande visited her for the first time late yesterday, Agence France Presse reported, citing his office.
The affair has provided fodder for the French media, with a whirl of wild rumors. While polls have shown that a vast majority of the French consider the matter private, there has been an insatiable appetite for developments in the affair.
The relationship became public after Closer magazine on Jan. 10 ran a photo spread on the liaison. The photos purportedly show Hollande wearing a helmet as he arrives on a scooter at an apartment around the corner from his office to meet Gayet. Closer expects to have sold 600,000 copies of the magazine, double the weekly’s average of 330,000.
Gayet announced yesterday she’s suing Closer and is demanding 54,000 euros ($73,470) in damages and legal costs, said Sylvie Guyomarch, a spokeswoman for its publisher, Italy’s Arnoldo Mondadori Editore SpA, which is controlled by Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest SpA.
Hollande’s press representatives were not immediately reachable for comment on Closer’s report today.
Hollande, 59, said at a press conference Jan. 14 that his relationship with Trierweiler, was “going through difficult moments” and asked that he be left to deal with the matter in private. He said he’d clear up her status before a planned Feb. 11 state visit to Washington, which would include a dinner dance with President Barack Obama and his wife.
Hollande isn’t married, although he has been in a long-term relationship with Trierweiler. Before that, he was with former French presidential candidate Royal. The two were not married.
‘Flowers and Chocolates’
Paris Match, the magazine where Trierweiler works, had reported that Hollande hasn’t been to visit since she was hospitalized on Jan. 10. RTL radio said yesterday her doctors had asked Hollande not to visit his companion. “She received flowers and chocolates” from him, her entourage told the radio.
Europe 1 reported that friends of Trierweiler who have been to visit her in the hospital describe her as being in a state of “extreme nervous fatigue.”
While France doesn’t have an official status for “First Lady,” Trierweiler has an office and staff at the presidential Elysee palace, and has accompanied Hollande on trips to countries such as Russia, Israel, and the U.S. She was due to accompany Hollande to Washington.