From Macron's teacher to France's next first lady?

Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Trogneux arriving at Parc des Expositions in Paris, France, on Sunday to deliver a speech after the first round of voting in the election.
Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Trogneux arriving at Parc des Expositions in Paris, France, on Sunday to deliver a speech after the first round of voting in the election.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

PARIS • France has not had a first lady since Mr Francois Hollande's partner Valerie Trierweiler left him in 2014.

The country's next first lady may well be Ms Brigitte Trogneux, the wife of Mr Emmanuel Macron, 39, if he emerges victorious against Ms Marine Le Pen in the May 7 election.

Many have described Ms Trogneux, Mr Macron's wife of nearly 10 years and 24 years his senior, as his emotional anchor.

He was a teenage schoolboy when Ms Trogneux, already married with three children, became his French and drama teacher at his high school in Amiens, northern France, the Daily Mail reported.

They became close, and Mr Macron's parents resorted to sending him to Paris to finish high school in a bid to break them up.

According to the book Emmanuel Macron: A Perfect Young Man, by journalist Anne Fulda, his parents told Ms Trogneux to stay away from their son, at least until he was 18. Her answer to them was: "I cannot promise you anything."

While he was studying in Paris, Mr Macron recalled, "we called each other all the time, we spent hours on the phone, hours and hours on the phone".

As Ms Trogneux told Paris Match magazine last year: "At the age of 17, Emmanuel said to me, 'Whatever you do, I will marry you!' "

They finally married in 2007 - Ms Trogneux did not take Mr Macron's name - after she and her husband divorced.

In Ms Fulda's book, Ms Trogneux referred to her husband's bid for the presidency.

"He better run now," she joked. "Imagine what I will look like in 15 years!"

During a speech last month, the Daily Mail reported, the couple kissed on stage, with Mr Macron telling supporters: "I owe her an enormous amount because she has contributed to make me the person I am."

He also told of how his wife would never be "behind him".

"If I am elected - no, sorry, when we are elected - she will be there, with a role and a place."

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2017, with the headline 'From Macron's teacher to France's next first lady?'. Print Edition | Subscribe