When French President Emmanuel Macron first stepped onto the world stage, his personal life garnered significant attention in the press.
There were two elements to the fascination. First, the 39-year-old politician is married to 63-year-old Brigitte Trogneux – and it would appear a relationship between a man and an older woman is ubiquitously perplexing.
Then, there was the story of where and when the couple met. Almost 25 years ago, Trogneux was a literature and drama teacher, and Macron was her 15-year-old student. He was in the same class as her daughter Laurence and, according to reports, she was who his parents initially thought he was dating.
Listen: French President Emmanuel Macron is married to an older woman, and the world can’t deal. Post continues after audio.
Now, a biography has detailed exactly how Macron’s mother, physician Francoise Nogues-Macron, and father, professor of neurology Jean-Michel Macron, discovered their son’s teenage affair with his teacher.
Speaking to writer Anne Fulda, author of Emmanuel Macron: A Perfect Young Man, Macron’s parents said it was a friend of the family who finally told them the truth. Upon learning of the nature of Emmanuel’s relationship with his teacher, 24 years his senior, the Macrons removed their son from his Jesuit school in Amiens.
“We just couldn’t believe it,” Francoise said. “What is clear is that when Emmanuel met Brigitte, we couldn’t just say, ‘That’s great’.”
It’s believed Macron’s mother approached his teacher and told her, “Don’t you see? You’ve had your life. But he won’t have children with you”.
Trogneux was married at the time, with three children.
Last year, Trogneux confirmed that Macron promised to marry her when he was 17. “You cannot get rid of me. I will come back and marry you,” he is believed to have said.
The former teacher said it was Emmanuel’s “exceptional intelligence, a way of thinking that I had never seen before” that initially drew her to him. They developed their relationship while writing a play together. “The writing became an excuse. I felt that we had always known each other,” Trogneux said.
Speaking of the affair, Macron said his parents “took it badly,” and recalled, “I had to fight in order to live both my private and my professional life as I wish”.
The couple, however, are notoriously private when it comes to exactly how and when their romantic relationship started. “Nobody will ever know at what moment our story became a love story,” Trogneux told Anne Fulda.
“That belongs to us. That is our secret.”