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French president visits hospitalized first lady

(FILES) - A photo taken on April 6, 2013 shows French President Francois Hollande and his partner Valerie Trierweiler leaving the Prefecture of Correze in Tulle. AFP PHOTO / JEAN PIERRE MULLER

PARIS: President Francois Hollande has visited France's first lady for the first time since she was hospitalized late last week after a gossip magazine reported he was having an affair with an actress.

An official at the presidential palace said Friday that Hollande visited Valerie Trierweiler the previous evening.

The 48-year-old journalist was admitted a week ago to Paris' Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital for rest. His office said she had experienced a "crisis of nerves" upon learning of the report in Closer magazine last week that the 59-year-old president has been having an affair with Julie Gayet, 41.

Patrice Biancone, a spokesman for Trierweiler, told The Associated Press on Thursday that her condition was improving, and that until then only one person from her family - a son - had visited her.

In its initial report on the matter, Closer published photos that it said show Hollande, wearing a motorcycle helmet with darkened visor, was sneaking into an apartment near the presidential palace to meet Gayet. Gayet is suing the magazine, accusing it of invasion of privacy.

The report dented a tradition among French media of ignoring the private lives of public figures.

At a previously planned news conference Tuesday, Hollande acknowledged "painful moments" in his relationship with Trierweiler. He refused to go into any more detail, saying only that the question of who the first lady is would be clarified before he leaves next month for a state visit in the United States that she'd been expected to attend.

Europe-1 radio reported Thursday night that Gayet told the radio station by telephone that rumors she is pregnant are untrue. Gayet has not spoken publicly about the matter, and her agent and lawyer have declined to comment on her private life.

 

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