Emmanuel Macron’s wife and former teacher thought he would “fall in love with someone his [own] age” after he was moved from the school where she taught him.
In an interview, Brigitte Macron said she put off marriage to her ex-pupil by a decade because she feared her three children’s lives would have been ruined if she had made her relationship with a teenager their age official.
The French president was 15 when he fell for his married drama teacher, Brigitte Auzière, then 40, at the Catholic Providence school in Amiens in the early 1990s. Her daughter Laurence was the future French president’s classmate.
When their blossoming romance sparked scandal in the provincial northern French city, Mr Macron’s parents, both doctors, sent him to board in Paris for his sixth-form studies.
“My head was in a mess,” Mrs Macron, now 70, told Paris Match in a rare interview about her life as France’s first lady since 2017.
“For me, such a young boy was crippling. Emmanuel had to leave for Paris. I told myself that he would fall in love with someone his [own] age. It didn’t happen.”
‘I didn’t want to miss out on life’
Mrs Macron stopped teaching drama, the class where she met her future husband, but continued to teach French language and Latin. “The only obstacle was my children,” she said. “I took time so I would not wreck their lives. That lasted ten years, the time to put them on the rails. You can imagine what they were hearing. But I didn’t want to miss out on my life.
“I do not know how my parents, who were the model of fidelity and good education, would have reacted to our marriage.”
Mrs Macron’s mother, Simone Trogneux, died in 1996. Her father, Jean, a successful chocolatier, had died two years earlier.
Mrs Macron said her older siblings used to joke about the gossip. She divorced from her estranged husband, André-Louis Auzière, a banker, in 2006 and married Mr Macron a year later, when he was a young civil servant.
Her son is now 48 — three years older than her second husband — and her daughters are 46 and 39. Mr Auzière died in 2019 without ever giving an interview.
In the Paris Match interview, Ms Macron gushed about her husband.
“There is not a single day that he doesn’t surprise me,” she said. “I have never seen such a memory … such an intellectual capacity. I had many brilliant pupils and none had his capability. I have always admired him.”
She praised the King and Queen, whom the French presidential couple hosted on their state visit in September. “When the royal couple came I was worried,” she said. “But right from their arrival at the Arc de Triomphe, when Camilla got out of the car and kissed me, they set the tone. He is very polished, very cultivated, very funny. What sums them up is their delicacy.”
In private, the King and Queen were discreet but charming, she added.
“On the Thursday evening they came for an aperitif at the Élysée because they do not eat much,” she said.
“There were just the four of us. A marvellous moment. There they were — Charles and Camilla. The next day they left for Bordeaux.”
Commenting on other world leaders, she said Melania Trump, who visited in 2017 with her husband, was “very sweet”.
“But she keeps a firm hand on her husband. When she taps her watch at dinner, her husband understands that it is time to get up and leave. He obeys. She has a strong personality.”
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