French President François Hollande Threatens Legal Action Over Claims Of Affair
The French leader doesn't like reports that he is close to the actress Julie Gayet. Updated: French magazine says it will remove the report.
Updated: 4:18 p.m. GMT
French President François Hollande has threatened to sue a magazine following claims he is having an affair with the actress Julie Gayet.
Socialist President Hollande, 59, says the French glossy magazine Closer has infringed on his privacy by printing allegations of an affair over seven pages in its latest edition.
A spokesman for the French President did not outright deny the affair with the 41-year old actor but said Hollande was considering legal action because he "deeply deplores the attacks on the principle of respect for privacy, to which he, like every citizen, has a right".
Hollande is currently struggling to push through an agenda that includes higher taxes for the rich and more state spending. His approval ratings have plummeted as the country's economy shows few signs of reviving.
The magazine alleges that Hollande arrived at an apartment late at night on the back of a scooter, wearing a motorcycle helmet.
Closer claims that Hollande is a regular visitor to the apartment and that its photos were taken "around New Year's Day".
The magazine also alleges that a man - who the magazine identifies as President's bodyguard - took a "bag of croissants" into the apartment the following morning.
"A helmeted head of state joined the actor at her apartment, where he is in the habit of spending the night," the magazine says on its website.
Closer made headlines outside France in 2012 when it published topless pictures of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Hollande is officially in a long-term relationship with the journalist Valerie Trierweiler.
Prior to this Hollande spent over 20 years in a relationship with Segolene Royale, the previous Socialist candidate for President of France.
Julie Gayet has previously threatened legal action over reports linking her to the President.
Hollande is able to threaten legal action because France has very strict privacy laws, which offer protection to public figures.
Breaches of the law could result in jail sentences and substantial fines for Closer's editor because "taking, recording or transmitting the picture of a person who is within a private place, without the consent of the person concerned" is a criminal offence.