With the election of Emmanuel Macron as the new – and, at 39, youngest ever – French president, the people of France are also getting a new first lady. Brigitte Trogneux, 64, has already sparked the interest of many across the world because of the unlikely nature of her relationship with Macron: The pair met when Macron was just 15 years old and she, 39 at the time, directed him in a high school play. It’s not clear when their relationship became romantic (“that is our secret,” Trogneux reportedly said) but she was married to a banker at the time, with whom she had three children. She divorced him in 2006 and married Macron the year after. “Love took everything in its path and led me to divorce. It was impossible to resist him,” she told Paris Match in a 2016 interview.
Trogneux gave up her own career as a teacher in 2015, when Macron was France’s economy minister and has devoted herself completely to supporting her husband’s career. “Without her, I wouldn’t be me,” Macron declared in April, after he won the first round of voting. Trogneaux will also reportedly have an official role in his administration — something that is not typically the case for French first ladies. Trogneaux now has seven grandchildren, and all three of her adult children reportedly get along well with their stepfather and were seen campaigning for him. The two have been very upfront with the press about their relationship, making sure it was not depicted as scandalous. “We do not have a classic family, it’s undeniable,” Macron said at a recent event for En Marche!, his political party. “But do we have less love in this family? I do not think so. Maybe there’s even more than conventional families.”
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