Perhaps the most striking thing there is to know about the French first lady Brigitte Macron is that she is 24 years older than the President, Emmanuel Macron. According to the president, his wife Brigitte has always been his mentor and inspiration. After the first phase of his victory towards winning the elections, Macron proudly said: “Without her, I wouldn’t be me”.
Brigitte and Macron met on a teacher-student basis. Later on, the student became very fond of the teacher just as the teacher was taken to his intelligence. Fate had Cupid shoot his arrow and they became close enough to be married. Their love story as you would soon learn, isn’t as seamless as it seems.
How Brigitte Fell in Love with Emmanuel Macron
As it happened, a 15-year-old Emmanuel Macron took part in a school play directed by Brigitte. It still remains unknown if it was at this time that they began dating. However, when the parents of the young student got to know he was having an affair with the elderly woman, they changed his school hoping that it would separate the two.
It was on 13th April 1953 that Brigitte who would come to be the first lady of France was born as Brigitte Marie-Claude Trogneux. Born in Amiens, she is the youngest of 6 children and was raised in a family that was wealthy and they owned the Chocolaterie Trogneux.
By the 1980s, Brigitte was a literature teacher at the Collège Lucie-Berger in Strasbourg. 10 years later, she was teaching French and Latin at Lycée la Providence, a Jesuit high school in Amiens. It was while teaching here that she again met the teenage intellectual who swept her off her feet. Many years later, Brigitte would admit she “was totally overcome by the intelligence” of Emmanuel.
Getting Married to the French President
It is not clear when their affair started but she recalls Macron professing his love to her at 17. For some weird reason, he also made sure to tell her he would marry her someday. 10 years later, Emmanuel Macron gave life to that promise. In 2006, she divorced her first husband, and one year later married Macron. As expected the relationship met with all kinds of criticism.
In the words of the French president, their’s was “a love often clandestine, often hidden, (and) misunderstood by many. As stated earlier, Macron’s parents disapproved of his relationship with Brigitte when they found out the two were dating. Another thing that made it difficult for people to accept their romance was the fact that Brigitte Macron was already married with children that are almost Macron’s age when they met.
Nonetheless, Brigitte and Macron fell deeper in love and there was no stopping them from getting married. As a result of their relationship, Brigitte revealed that she lost many of her friends because they disapproved of her relationship with the younger Macron and would no longer socialize with her.
After getting married, Brigitte and the French President decided against having any children. But through her, Macron who doesn’t have any child is a grandfather of 7.
Emmanuel Insisted She must be Formally Recognized as First Lady
Brigitte Macron has never held a public office before. However, records show that she ran for the city council of Truchtersheim in 1989, but lost. In 2015, she gave up her teaching career to serve as her husband’s adviser. At the time Macron was the country’s economy minister.
The French government, unlike the Americans, does not formally recognize the office of the first lady. Under Macron’s watch, all that almost changed. He stated that his wife who is also his intellectual soulmate and confidante will have an official role, but with no salary. He was quoted to have said: “She will have an existence, she will have a voice… a view on things. She will be at my side, as she has always been, but she will also have a public role.”
But then, his proposal for an official First Lady title was met with a petition that gathered over 318 supporters. Even though Emmanuel stated that his wife would get no salary, the petition agitated that there was no reason for the wife of the head of state to get a budget from public funds. It was argued that the first lady office would allow Brigitte to use her role as she sees fit and as such, would be legally recognized which would, in turn, make it possible for her to benefit from a budget. With that, the president decided to go with the people and it was announced that Brigitte Macron would not hold the official title of First Lady.
Emmanuel Macron’s view on women empowerment is believed to be courtesy of his wife Brigitte. Although she didn’t get to officially be the first lady, she is the first French first lady that has given her husband this much of a gap in age.
A Look at Brigitte Macron’s Life with Her First Husband
In 1974, Brigitte got married to André-Louis Auzière, a banker. Together they had 3 children. At 64, she is a grandmother of 7 grandchildren. With her ex-husband and children, they stayed in Truchtersheim until 1991, when they finally moved to Amiens.
The family remained together until she got a divorce from Auzière in January 2006. Even though the reason for the divorce hasn’t been stated, it may most likely be a result of her relationship with Macron whom she married in October 2007.
The French first lady has made peace with the age difference between her and her husband. Also, Brigitte Macron’s children from her first marriage who are about the same age as her husband were seen devoutly campaigning for their stepfather. It is believed that it is Emmanuel’s charm that won them over.
According to Brigitte, this was the same attitude the president used to win her over. Following the attention their unusual relationship received, Brigitte convinced Macron to move to Paris. When he was leaving, he informed her that she can’t get rid of him, asserting that he would return to marry her.
It is said that the two kept in touch after Emmanuel moved and would talk for hours over the phone. With patience and his charming personality, it was only a matter of time before he won over Brigitte’s resistance. The moment he turned 18, the woman parted ways with her first husband and moved to Paris to officially start her life with him.