- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

French President Francois Hollande has switched gears. Instead of insisting that any affair he may or may not have been conducting with an actress is his own business, Mr. Hollande is now holding a press conference with reporters and will face the masses on Tuesday.

The press conference is not exactly billed as a talk of the allegations. Rather, it’s the French president’s traditional January news conference on the state of the economy. But the fact that Mr. Hollande is not dodging the event shows that he’s now willing to face questions about his affair — a charge that has put his long-time girlfriend and the nation’s recognized first lady, Valerie Trierweiler, into a hospital for severe depression, NBC News reported.

The allegations of his affair first surfaced in a magazine on Friday with published photographs that showed what the writers claim was Mr. Hollande, 59, being driven on a scooter to spend the night at the apartment of Julie Gayet, a 41-year-old actress.

Four-fifths of French voters said in a weekend survey that they considered Mr. Hollande’s supposed affair a private matter.

Ms. Trierweiler’s entrance to a hospital has sparked fresh outrage, and now many are demanding answers.

“This has been disastrous for the image of the institution of the presidency,” said Jean-Francois Cope, the head of the opposition UMP conservatives, in NBC.