If Emmanuel Macron defeats far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in May’s showdown for the French presidency, the country will have perhaps its most unexpected first lady ever.
Macron’s wife, Brigitte Trogneux, was his drama teacher in high school and is 25 years his senior. He’s 39, she’s 64.
The front-runner was just 16 when he vowed to marry Trogneux – a married mum-of-three at the time – and his parents even tried to put a stop to the schoolboy love affair, according to a new book.
The unusual love story has captivated French tabloids and magazines, and emerged as a major storyline during Macron’s rapid rise towards the Elysee Palace, with both husband and wife hitting back at critics.
At 16, Macron’s parents sent him to Paris to continue his studies but he vowed to marry Trogneux, who was around 40.
The relationship continued after he left for Paris, became an adult and graduated from university, and eventually moved into investment banking, although it was unclear when the romance became a full-blown love affair.
Trogneux joined him in Paris and the couple married in 2007 – she did not take his name – after she divorced her first husband. The pair have not had any children together.
New details about their romance emerged in journalist Anne Fulda’s timely book, “Emannuel Macron: A Perfect Young Man”.
She interviewed Macron, Trogneux and both of his parents, and said they were shocked when they found out he was pursuing his teacher.
Macron, who could become France’s youngest ever president, hit back at critics, saying: “Nobody would call it unusual if the age difference was reversed. People find it difficult to accept something that is sincere and unique.”