It’s no secret that the French president Emmanuel Macron and his Brigitte Macron got together when Brigitte was a teacher at then-16-year-old Emmanuel’s high school.
But the first lady’s daughter has now revealed the impact her mother’s love affair with a then-fellow student had on her at the time. Tiphaine Auzière, now 34, was nine when her teacher mother Brigitte fell in love with the schoolboy Emmanuel. Tiphaine reported described to a France 3 documentary Brigitte Macron: A French Novel how she remembered noticing the clear attraction between her mum and the student.
“They were quite smitten and it was quite obvious between them and very difficult,” The Times reports Tiphaine as saying in the documentary. Brigitte already knew of Emmanuel because he was in the same class as Tiphaine’s older sister, Laurence. (Brigitte also has an older son, Sebastien.)
The documentary, which Brigitte herself declined to appear in, reportedly includes testimonies from 65-year-old Brigitte’s friends, former students and even fellow teachers. Home videos and photographs were also used to tell Brigitte’s story, which included the first time her family found out about her relationship with Emmanuel.
According to The Times, Emmanuel announced his love for Brigitte in 1994 when he was still a student and she was his teacher – much to the displeasure of his own family, who asked Brigitte to stop seeing him until he was at least 18. “I can’t promise you anything,” the teacher, who was still married to husband André-Louis Auzière at the time, reportedly replied.
Although Emmanuel was eventually sent to finishing school in Paris, the pair continued their relationship for a further 13 years and when her divorce was finalised in 2007, Brigitte accepted Emmanuel’s offer of marriage. Admitting it was difficult at first to come to terms with her mother’s relationship with a fellow student, Tiphaine said that there was nothing but love between her mother and step-father.
“If I have to give a vision of love, it’s Emmanuel and Mummy,” she said. “When they are together, it is almost as if the world doesn’t exist.”
The French first lady has been quoted as saying she would have felt she had missed out on life if she hadn’t made the choice to pursue Emmanuel when she did. Brigitte spoke to Elle France in 2017 about her relationship and the age gap, revealing that the couple joked about the unique nature of their marriage.
“Emmanuel’s only fault is that he’s younger than me,” she told the magazine. “When I read things about [us], I have the impression I’m reading someone else’s story … Of course, when we’re having breakfast together, there’s me with my wrinkles, he with his freshness, but that’s the way it is. If I hadn’t made the choice to be with him, I’d have been missing out on life.”
During that interview, however, she discussed her regret over the pain she caused her children. “I know that I hurt my children, and that’s the thing I blame most,” she said, according to a translation of the French article. “But I could not not do it. There are moments in your life where you make vital choices.”