NEW: Closer magazine director says story will be taken down
President Francois Hollande considers legal action against magazine, news agency says
Closer magazine has alleged Hollande had an affair with actress Julie Gayet
Hollande, who was elected President in 2012, lives with partner Valerie Trierweiler
French President Francois Hollande is considering legal action against the French version of Closer magazine after the publication alleged he was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet, French news agency Agence France-Presse reported Friday.
A member of the President’s entourage said in a statement to AFP that “Hollande deeply condemns the attacks on the right to privacy which he has a right to like every other citizen. He is looking into possible action, including legal action against this publication (Closer).”
CNN has reached out to Hollande and Gayet for comment, but there has been no response.
But the magazine’s director, Stefan Haitaian, did tell CNN that the magazine is in the process of taking the story down from its website at the request of Gayet’s lawyer.
As of 1:15 a.m. Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET Friday), several stories on the pair’s alleged relationship were still up and linked on the magazine’s homepage.
According to AFP, Gayet, who appeared in one of Hollande’s 2012 election commercials, filed a complaint in March over rumors of the affair, which she said were a breach of privacy.
Hollande, 59, lives with 48-year-old French journalist and mother-of-three Valerie Trierweiler.
The President has four children of his own from his previous long-term relationship with prominent French Socialist politician Segolene Royal.
Hollande, who heads France’s Socialist Party, was elected President in May 2012. Since then, his popularity has tumbled.
A survey last month by French polling organization Ifop gave Hollande an approval rating of 22%, a rise of two points from the previous month, when he hit a record low.
At the same time, Closer itself is no stranger to controversy.
Last September, a French court ordered the magazine not to distribute or showcase – in print or online – topless photos it had published on Britain’s likely future queen, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
The court ordered Closer to hand over the original photos to the royal family within 24 hours and to pay them 2,000 euros (about $2,700).
Closer is owned by the Mondadori publishing company, which is headed by Marina Berlusconi, daughter of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
CNN’s Alexander Felton, Damien Ward and Lindsay Isaac contributed to this report.