Since I’m sort of obsessed with the French presidential election, I’ve been reading a lot of the American-media coverage of the candidates and their campaigns. Emmanuel Macron, the independent candidate who is running against fascist Marine le Pen, has already been referred to as a potential “French JFK.” He’s good-looking and photogenic, with a youthful, rigorous and TV-friendly vibe. Which is probably why I was curious to learn anything about his wife. Was she the French Jackie Kennedy? Which is probably why I completely misread this headline as “Emmanuel Macron is married to a high school teacher.” I thought, “wow, that’s so nice, he’s married to a teacher!” No, that wasn’t the headline. The actual headline is “Emmanuel Macron married HIS high school teacher.” Seriously.
On Sunday, the first round of voting in the French presidential race narrowed the candidates down to infamous far-right leader Marine Le Pen, and the front-runner, centrist independent Emmanuel Macron. As Macron moves closer to the presidency, one petit fun fact about him is making the news cycle: He’s married to a woman 25 years his senior, who also happened to be his teacher back in high school.
In a story that would likely sink a candidate’s chances in a more uptight country (uh, here), the 39-year-old Macron first met his 64-year-old wife, Brigitte Trogneux, when he was 15. More specifically, she was a drama teacher and he was playing the lead role in the school’s adaptation of the Milan Kundera play, Jacques and His Master. If you were wondering how this story could possibly get more French, Trogneux is reportedly from a family of “respected chocolatiers in the northern French town of Amiens.”
Trogneux was married at the time, and though there are rumors that they had an affair, it’s unclear when their romance actually began. They wed in 2007 and Macron now has several step-grandchildren. In a recently published book, Macron is reportedly quoted as saying, “Nobody would call it unusual if the age difference was reversed” — and, well, he does have a point.
If it was JUST the age difference – he’s 39 years old, she’s 64 – I would shrug and say “that’s unusual but different strokes, etc.” Like, if they had met when he was in his early 30s, who cares? But the fact that they met when he was 15 and she seemingly left her husband for him, maybe??? I don’t know. If they married in 2007, then he was 29. How long were they together before they married? No one knows. This story reminds me a bit of Aaron Taylor Johnson and Sam Taylor Johnson.
Also: Marine Le Pen has “temporarily stepped aside” as the leader of the National Front. Somebody *taps nose* is trying to look like they aren’t a fascist ahead of the election.
Photos courtesy of Getty.