France’s humiliated first lady Valerie Trierweiler will stay in hospital for another week, suffering from ‘very strong emotional shock’ after learning that the President had cheated on her, officials said last night.
She remains in a ‘fragile’ condition but has apparently signalled that she can forgive Francois Hollande’s secret trysts with an actress – if she can hold on to her prominent role.
Miss Trierweiler, 48, was taken to hospital last Friday after President Hollande, 59, confessed to his affair with film star Julie Gayet, 41.
Last night a spokesman said she would stay in hospital ‘for another six or eight more days’, adding that she needed rest after a ‘very strong emotional shock’.
From her hospital bed, Miss Trierweiler seemed well enough to be orchestrating a campaign to win public sympathy. She let it be known that she felt she had been ‘hit by a high-speed train’ – but was ready to forgive Mr Hollande.
The couple are not married but have been together for six years, making her the de facto first lady when the Socialist leader became President in 2012.
The divorced magazine journalist, who still writes a column for Paris Match, has been widely criticised for her high living.
She has five taxpayer-funded staff at her permanent disposal and the use of several homes, jets and limousines.
Miss Trierweiler has been personally briefing French newspaper Le Parisien, which last night quoted ‘a friend’ as saying: ‘She seems ready to forgive, but she wants to know quickly what Francois Hollande’s intentions are.’
Frédéric Gerschel of Le Parisien later said he had spoken directly to Miss Trierweiler.
He said: ‘She has made it clear that a clarification is needed. She knows that, if she is no longer first lady she cannot continue to have an office in the Elysee and make use of state funds.’
Mr Hollande has said nothing publicly – except to complain about his privacy – since French magazine Closer carried comical pictures of him sneaking in to his Paris love nest wearing a helmet after arriving by scooter.
According to Le Parisien, Mr Hollande broke the news of his cheating to the first lady on Thursday afternoon.
Miss Trierweiler’s friend told the paper: ‘The scene took place in the panelled rooms of Elysée Palace, without confrontation nor shouting. In a few words, the head of state admitted the existence of a liaison.
‘He denied nothing. Neither the escapades on the scooter with the security officer in the middle of the night, nor the frequency of these clandestine rendezvous, nor the date that this love affair began… several months ago.’
When Mr Hollande confirmed his romantic encounters, a ‘political-emotional Tsunami’ ensured, according to Le Parisien.
‘Valerie took it like being hit by a high speed train,’ said a friend. ‘She was completely stunned. Of course, she’d been aware of rumours circulating around Paris for weeks.
‘She just wanted to believe it was false. For her, they are still a couple,’ added the friend, saying Ms Trierweiler and Mr Hollande spent New Year’s Eve together, and enjoyed part of Christmas with Ms Trierweiler’s family.
A palace source said: ‘She didn’t believe it at first. She thought they could just get their lawyers to stop the magazine publishing the story. Then she was told it couldn’t be banned. She was upset, very upset.
‘She is being humiliated, and effectively turned into a national laughing stock.’
Some critics have questioned her decision to check into hospital to rest, with one source close to Mr Hollande saying she was using ‘emotional blackmail’ to keep her job.
Mr Hollande is expected to comment on the affair today at a press conference that was intended to be about France’s ailing economy.
It comes as recent polls suggest a total of 89 per cent of voters want Hollande to split from Miss Trierweiler.
Miss Trierweiler – who is not married to Mr Hollande – has enjoyed all the perks of a presidential wife with a retinue of staff and a generous budget.
Miss Trierweiler maintains her own office at the palace, costing French taxpayers a small fortune.
She became Mr Hollande’s live-in girlfriend following his separation from fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children. Mr Hollande was said to have taken her as mistress while still living with Miss Royal.
The divorced magazine journalist has been widely criticised for her high living in the past.
MP Jean-Christophe Lagarde said: ‘She is not the wife of the president of the Republic, she plays the role of the first lady of France, when it appears that there is another first lady. The situation needs to be clarified very rapidly.’
But her place in the president’s affections appears to have been taken by Julie Gayet.