French president Hollande confirms split with partner after affair

French President Francois Hollande and companion Valerie Trierweiler (left) visit the September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero, site of the Twin Towers that were destroyed on Sept 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center in New York on Sept 25, 2012. -- FILE
French President Francois Hollande and companion Valerie Trierweiler (left) visit the September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero, site of the Twin Towers that were destroyed on Sept 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center in New York on Sept 25, 2012. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - French President Francois Hollande on Saturday said he has split with his longstanding partner Valerie Trierweiler after his affair with an actress nearly 20 years his junior.

The announcement came after a day of rumours in the French media that Mr Hollande would formally announce the rupture on Saturday, on the eve of a planned visit by Ms Trierweiler to India for charity work.

Saying he was speaking as a private individual, Mr Hollande announced: “I wish to make it known that I have ended my partnership with Valerie Trierweiler.”

Ms Trierweiler, 48, remains holed up in a presidential residence in Versailles outside Paris after leaving hospital last Saturday, where she was treated for a bout of “tiredness” brought on by press revelations of Mr Hollande’s affair with actress Julie Gayet, 41.

Ms Trierweiler is due to fly to Mumbai on Sunday for a charity trip organised by French relief organisation Action Against Hunger, in what will be her first public appearance since the scandal broke.

Mr Hollande, 59, announced his separation from Segolene Royal, a senior member of his Socialist party and a presidential candidate in 2007, just after she lost the election to Nicolas Sarkozy.

Ms Trierweiler is not married to Hollande but assumed the role of First Lady at official functions after Hollande’s election in 2012.