Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, has said that her husband’s only flaw is his youth.
“Emmanuel’s only flaw is that he’s younger than me,” Brigitte Macron told the French edition of Elle magazine in an extract of its cover interview, which was published last week.
At 64, Macron is 25 years her husband’s senior.
“I have never been attracted by younger men,” Brigitte told Elle, according to The Times. “That thought never occurred to me. Of course, we have breakfast, me with my wrinkles and him with his freshness, but that’s the way it is.”
Upon discovering the affair Emmanuel’s parents sent him away to Paris to complete his studies, a biography of the now-French president said. But Brigitte Macron appeared to have a slightly different account.
“It was I who told Emmanuel to finish his studies in Paris because I thought it would be better for him,” she told Elle. She added that “there was nothing between us at the time, but the gossip went on.”
Seventeen-year-old Emmanuel reportedly told her at the time: “Whatever you do, I will marry you,” according to Brigitte’s account of the events to Paris Match.
Brigitte Macron’s interview – her first since the Emmanuel was elected in May – came as her husband marked his first days 100 days in office with a dramatic plummet in his popularity.
Almost two in three French people were “unsatisfied” with Emmanuel Macron, according to a Le Figaro/Ifop survey published on August 11. This approval rating – of 36% – is roughly the same as that of Donald Trump in America right now, according to FiveThirtyEight’s aggregation.
More than 316,000 people also signed a petition addressed to Macron protesting the president’s plans to formalise Brigitte’s role as First Lady and create a taxpayer-funded budget to pay for his wife’s activities.
Nevertheless, the Elysée Palace on Monday published a “transparency charter” acknowledging Brigitte’s official role in representing France at home and abroad. She would neither receive a salary nor have her own budget, but would have an office director and a chief of staff.
The charter did not mention the total cost or number of staff Brigitte will have, but the Associated Press reported earlier this month that Brigitte had an office at the Elysée Place, two advisers, two secretaries, and bodyguards.
France has not had a formal first lady since François Hollande took office in 2012, but Brigitte likened the role of the First Lady as a “gift” for her to carry out various duties and engagements.
“It’s very clear in my mind that the French elected Emmanuel, not me,” she told Elle. “But they knew, of course, that we were a couple.”
Brigitte Macron’s full interview was published in Elle’s print magazine on Friday.