French actress Julie Gayet has reportedly ended her relationship with President Francois Hollande, friends saying she had preferred their "hidden affair".
France discovered in January that the Socialist president had been meeting the 41-year old blonde at an apartment a stone's throw from the Elysee Palace. The disclosures in Closer magazine were followed the announcement that Hollande had ended his relationship with Valerie Trierweiler, then his official partner.
Gayet has been seen only once in public since. She attended an award ceremony for the Cesars, France's version of the Oscars, in which she had been nominated for best supporting actress for her portrayal of a nymphomaniac diplomat.
The well-connected weekly gossip magazine Gala says Gayet has "broken up this relationship". It wrote: "As an independent woman, Julie chose a course of action that was neither dictated by reasons of state nor public opinion." She could no longer take the "intrusion into her private life" and the "media pressure" the relationship had placed on her two teenage sons.
"To live happily, she would have preferred to live far from him. She will not enter the dangerous spotlight of a public romance," it said. "She went from being a free woman, the respected boss of three production companies, to having the status of Madame de Montespan [Louis XIV's favourite mistress], nude pictures for which people avidly Google." It cited a friend, director Bernard Murat, as saying that Gayet "has never dreamt of being first lady".
The report was published days after a new book claimed Hollande had not entirely broken off relations with Trierweiler, who considers she has "lost a battle but not the war".