On Sunday, centrist candidate and former investment banker Emmanuel Macron and far-right lawyer Marine Le Pen were announced as frontrunners in the French Presidential election.
Macron is a newcomer to politics, having established a political party En Marche! (translated Forward!) only one year ago. Le Pen, in contrast, is the former president of the National Front political party – which she joined in 1986. She draws a hard line on immigration, and has promised an EU referendum within the first six months of her presidency.
But, as always where politics is concerned, the personal lives of these candidates has become public fodder. And Macron, who is currently preferred in the polls, has a particularly unique story quickly gaining attention.
Macron, 39, is married to Brigitte Trogneux, who is 24 years his senior. Far more controversial than their age difference, however, is the story of when and where they met.
Macron was a 15-year-old student in Trogneux’s literature class, where her daughter, Laurence, was his peer. Reportedly, Macron’s parents initially thought he was pursuing Laurence, and when they found out about the relationship between their son and his teacher, they vocally disapproved. According to Vogue, the relationship started when Macron was 17, and his parents asked Trogneux to stay away until he was at least 18. They even sent him away to Paris to finish his schooling.
But 12 years after their affair began, Trogneux left her husband, and in 2007, she married Macron.
Now, Macron is likely to become the next President of France, and Trogneux the First Lady. But it seems a community online are determined to use the candidate's unconventional relationship against him - spreading damaging rumours that could tear apart his public reputation.
Just hours after Macron was declared the clear winner of the first round of France's Presidential election, a thread on 4chan appeared with the aim to 'Meme Macron out of existence'.