President Emmanuel Macron is in Kenya today in the first visit by a French leader since Independence.
This is the latest stop in Macron’s Africa tour, followed by Ethiopia and Djibouti, focusing on investment and security in a region of increasing strategic importance.
The French leader is attending a U.N. environmental meeting and One Planet Summit in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, and meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
But aside from environmental matters (which are very important), let’s take a look back at Macron’s love matters and how he ended up marrying Brigitte – a woman 25 years older than him.
According to Daily Mail, Brigitte was initially reluctant to marry the future President Emmanuel Macron because he was 25 years younger and ‘might want children’.
Retired teacher Brigitte Macron, who turns 66 this year, already had a husband and three children when she had an affair with her teenage pupil.
As their relationship progressed, Mr Macron, now 41, asked for her hand in marriage, but she initially told close friend Pascale Bourdel she felt too old.
‘One day, Brigitte said to me “Emmanuel wants us to get married”,’ said Ms Bourdel.
‘She was a little reluctant and I told her that I could not see why, and she said to me, ‘You do realise how old he is, and how old I am? Maybe he’ll want children.’
Ms Bourdel replied: ‘So, Brigitte, you’re happy with him, choose happiness!’
The exchange was recounted in a new France 3 TV documentary called ‘Brigitte Macron: A French Novel’.
The film marks the first time the family have spoken out about the romance that blossomed after Macron began seeing his drama teacher.
He was in her literature class and attending the theatre workshop she ran at a Catholic high school in Amiens.
In his book and political manifesto Revolution, President Macron described the affair as ‘a love often clandestine, often hidden, misunderstood by many before imposing itself.’
The Macrons ended up getting married in the Channel beach resort of Le Touquet in 2007, but not before causing extreme angst among those closest to them.
Mrs Macron’s youngest daughter, Tiphaine Auzière, 34, told the documentary she was just nine when she learned of the affair.
They were quite smitten and it was quite obvious between them and very difficult,’ said Ms Auzière.
Mr Macron was just 16 when he declared his love for the then Mrs Auzière, his drama teacher.
Her first husband, André-Louis Auzière, moved out of the family home in Amiens, and went to live in Lille.
Mr Macron’s doctor parents asked Mrs Auzière to stop seeing him until he was 18 but she said ‘I can’t promise you anything,’ according to the documentary.
Instead, Mr Macron was sent to Paris to continue his education, and they continued seeing each until the Auzières finally divorced.
Despite such trauma, Tiphaine Auzière said: ‘If I had to present a vision of love, it’s Emmanuel and Mummy. When they are together, it’s almost as if the world does not exist.’
In other recent media interviews, Ms Auzière has called her mother a ‘remarkable warrior’, who gave Mr Macron a great deal of confidence.
As his teacher she used to stand off stage and tell him ‘to raise his voice’, for example, said Ms Auzière.
She added: ‘I had parents who did things intelligently things were done gradually.
‘My dad and my mummy always took care to protect us, to not expose us and to manage things properly so that we suffered as little as possible.
‘My dad worked in Lille during the week and, I was with my mom when she went to see Emmanuel.’
Mr Macron has since admitted that the young children of Tiphanie and her sister and brother are ‘enough’ for him, and he does not regret not having any of his own.
Mrs Macron would not be interviewed for the documentary, but is said to have sanctioned close friends and family talking about her.
She is quoted in the film as saying: ‘I know that I hurt my children and it’s the thing for which I most reproach myself but if I hadn’t made that choice I would have missed out on my life.’
Mrs Macron suffered a great deal of criticism in Amiens, where her family owned a chain of bakeries.
In a macabre twist, the documentary compared the Macron affair to the case of Gabrielle Russier, a teacher in Marseilles who committed suicide in 1969 after being convicted of seducing a 16-year-old in her class.