Jan. 26 (UPI) -- French President Francois Hollande finally clarified his relationship with the nation's de facto first lady, his longtime girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler, amid rumors of his alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet.
“I have ended the shared life I had with Valérie Trierweiler," he said in a short statement Saturday.
This means that France no longer has a first lady -- Trierweiler will return to life as a private citizen.
Earlier this month, Closer magazine published a report about Hollande's alleged rendez-vous with Gayet, which included supposed pictures of the president visiting her apartment late at night. Trierweiler checked herself into a hospital with what she described as "extreme fatigue," while journalists asked whether she was still first lady.
Shortly before the announcement, Hollande told TIME that "private life is always, at certain times, a challenge. And it has to be respected."
He echoed those sentiments in a January 14 press conference.
"Everyone in his personal life goes through hardships," Hollande said at the time. "This is the case for us. These are painful moments, but I have one principle: that private matters be dealt with private."