France’s culture ministry has turned down French actress Julie Gayet for a coveted spot at a French cultural institution after reports that she is having an affair with the president.
A ministry official said Gayet was nominated for the jury at the Villa Medicis, a French state-owned institution in Rome. Culture minister Aurelie Filippetti rejected the nomination yesterday, the official said, without giving a reason.
The decision came a day after French president François Hollande’s news conference where he admitted to problems in his love life but refused to comment on the affair.
Mr Hollande’s first lady, journalist Valerie Trierweiler, has been in hospital since Friday, when the tabloid magazine Closer published photos it said proved Hollande’s liaison with Gayet.
At the news conference on Tuesday, which was largely centred on a new economic strategy for France, Mr Hollande said he was experiencing a “difficult moment” in his private life.
He refused to answer questions about the allegations, saying “private matters should be dealt with privately”.
The satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine yesterday said Ms Gayet, 41, had been proposed to the 2014 jury last month by the director of the Academy of France in Villa Medici, Eric de Chassey.
The academy’s website announced her appointment on its website.
However, Ms Filippetti’s office said yesterday: “Her name was put forward by Eric de Chassey… but the minister has decided not to nominate her. The order has not been signed.”
The unpaid jury’s role is to select some 15 people to take up cultural scholarships lasting 12-18 months at the Villa Medici, located in the Villa Borghese in Rome.
Meanwhile, it was reported that Ms Trierweiler made a “desperate” bid to befriend her former love rival and mother of Mr Hollande’s four children when she suspected he was having an affair.
Ms Trierweiler attempted to “make peace” with Segolene Royal – Mr Hollande’s partner of 28 years – when she heard rumours he was cheating on her with Gayet.
But after years of bitter rivalry between the two women, Ms Royal – a former presidential candidate in 2005 – snubbed her offer of friendship, France’s Grazia magazine reported.
Mr Hollande is said to have made a full confession to his partner of six years the night before full details of the affair were published in Closer magazine.
The first lady and mother-of-three has let it be known that she is ready to forgive her partner if he states both “publicly and privately” that his affair with Gayet is over.
Grazia described her attempt to contact Ms Royal – who she replaced as Mr Hollande’s lover six years ago – as “desperate and futile”.
The magazine wrote: “Valerie first began to feel Francois Hollande was losing interest in her in the summer.
“In July last year she went on holiday alone to Greece feeling alone and abandoned.
“Meanwhile, Mr Hollande was attending a music concert in France where he met up with none other than Julie Gayet.
“Ms Trierweiler tried to get in touch with Ms Royal through mutual friends, to make peace but also to understand what was happening.
“It was an appeal for feminine solidarity, but after years of rivalry, obviously Ms Royal did not respond.”
The feud between the two women began six years ago when Mr Hollande met Ms Trierweiler at a political rally and left Ms Royal to begin a relationship with her.
Ms Trierweiler was at the centre of accusations two years ago that she tried to wreck Ms Royal’s political career by tweeting her support for a candidate standing against her in the parliamentary elections.
Ms Royal lost the election and later said she had been “stabbed in the back” by Mr Hollande’s girlfriend.
Ms Trierweiler also begged her boyfriend not to offer Ms Royal a place in his government after his election in May 2012.
Mr Hollande’s children have refused to have any contact with Ms Trierweiler since then, while the first lady is said to have been so jealous of Ms Royal that she could not even bear to hear her name spoken.