Julie Gayet, French Actress, Wins Privacy Suit in Hollande Affair

Image: Julie Gayet, French Actress, Wins Privacy Suit in Hollande Affair

Friday, 28 Mar 2014 10:38 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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French actress Julie Gayet won 15,000 euros, about $20,000, from Closer magazine in a privacy lawsuit after the publication revealed her affair with President Francois Hollande.

In January, Closer published a 7-page photo spread of a body guard and a man in a black helmet said to be Hollande, 59, arriving at Gayet's Parisian apartment titled "Francois Hollande and Julie Gayet – The President's Secret Love," Reuters reports.

The actress, 41, originally sought 50,000 euros in damages, however in addition to the 15,000 she did win the court has ordered the magazine to publish the ruling on the front cover of its next edition.

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Gayet's lawyer, Jean Ennochi, said during the trial Gayet was harassed by the press. "She was assaulted by swarms of photographers . . . it was like the hunt of a wild animal," he said.

Closer's lawyers maintained their innocence, saying the photos were in the public interest because they held the President to his "duty of transparency."

Hollande considered but did not file a lawsuit of his own, and neither he nor Gayet have denied the affair. When the photos were originally published, Hollande accused Closer of an "attack on the right to privacy," to which he "like every other citizen has a right."

Gayet, who is married with two children, is a prominent actress in both film and television in France, having appeared in more than 50 films during her career. Additionally, she was also featured in one of Hollande's 2012 election commercials.

Amid the swirling rumors of the affair, Hollande split from his domestic partner, French journalist Valérie Trierweiler, 49. During the breakup, Trierweiler was hospitalized for reasons related to the separation. In 2007 the French president had left his common-law wife of nearly 30 years, Segolene Royal, with whom he had four children, for Trierweiler.

The scandal comes at a bad time for President Hollande, who's suffering record lows in his approval ratings while fighting rising unemployment across the country.

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