Brigitte Trogneux – not actually Madame Macron, the wife of new president-elect Emmanuel Macron, used to be his drama teacher. Here’s a closer look at France’s next first lady.
So who is Brigitte Trogneux?
She was once his high school teacher and she is 25 years his senior.
Hang on, they met at high school?
Yep. She used to be a French teacher at his private high school in Amiens, northern France. She also ran the theatre club where he was a budding actor. The picture above shows Macron’s first “kiss” with Trogneux at the end of a theatre production.
It seems like it was love at first sight – it’s understood the pair used to have long discussions together – and she would read his writing out to the class.
“She used to recite his work all the time. She was totally captivated by his writing skills,” a former classmate told Le Parisien newspaper.
A whole new level of “teacher’s pet”.
When he moved to Paris at the age of 18, she jumped ship from her own family soon after and followed him down.
She told Paris Match magazine: “At the age of 17, Emmanuel said to me, ‘Whatever you do, I will marry you!'”
As for the age difference – a French study from September said that it’s a trend right now for French women to take younger lovers, so who cares?
Well, actually, Macron’s parents did. They asked the then 40-year-old Trogneux to stay away from their 16-year-old son, at least until he turned 18, according to a new biography about the new president-elect.
Is she still teaching?
No. She put her teaching career on hold to help Macron in his push to become president, and Macron counts her as a trusted adviser, at least according to Paris Match.
“She spends all her time beside him, she reads and listens to everything that is said about him. He asks her questions and takes her advice,” the magazine wrote.
So what about her life before Macron?
In her LBM (Life Before Macron), Trogneux was married with three children, who are now all grown up and work as an engineer, a cardiologist, and a lawyer. She even has six grandchildren.
Her parents were part of a renowned family of chocolatiers in Amiens, which has been in the family for five generations and has turned over as much as €4 million per year.
It’s said that they have some of the best macarons going around.
The French have been quick to point out that they’ve had the macarons d’Amiens for generations – and now they have the Macron d’Amiens.
Does she like the spotlight?
It appears that she doesn’t mind it, at least compared to the spouses of the other presidential hopefuls (especially Francois Fillon’s extremely publicity-averse wife Penelope).
Trogneux and Macron are no strangers to the press. They first stepped out together for the cameras in the summer of 2015 for a dinner with the King of Spain and his wife (see below).
This was back when Macron was the economy minister.
Since then, they’ve never been far from the pages of gossip magazines like Closer and Paris Match, perhaps most famously during a shoot last year where they were photobombed by a nudist on a beach.
— Thomas Joubert (@tomjoubert) August 11, 2016
What does she have to say about it all?
She isn’t really one to give interviews, but she has revealed a quick wit and a sharp tongue at times.
While being hounded by a reported in this interview, she was asked why her husband was “so good at politics”.
Her response: “He is good at everything. Not just politics, you’re being quite restrictive.”
She then added: “I’m yet to find an area where he isn’t good”, much to the smirks of the team at Le Petit Journal.
In general though, she is quite private and doesn’t reveal too much about the couple’s private lives.
We do know, however, that they own a place in Touquet in northern France where they got married in 2007. French media reports that the couple often escapes to their country home when not on duty in Paris.
Will she actually be the ‘First Lady of France’?
There’s never been an official First Lady of France, but Macron has appeared to like the idea of getting his wife involved, and now he can.
“If I’m elected — no, sorry, when we are elected — she will be there, with a role and place,” Macron told supporters in April.
So what could she bring to the table as First Lady?
Well, obviously as a teacher, she has some leadership skills.
“As a teacher I know young people well. And I think it’s essential to keep them in mind,” she said in an interview with Paris Match.
“I will fight for their education (…) If we just leave them by the wayside then it will all implode.”
And we can assume that she would be the staunchest of Macron’s supporters. After all, she has been his biggest supporter since he was a teenager.
Read more at The Local – France.