France's First Lady Brigitte Macron has revealed how she put off marrying Emmanuel to avoid 'wrecking' her children's lives.
In a rare personal interview, the 70-year-old told Paris Match magazine that she delayed marrying her husband French President Emmanuel Macron, 45, for ten years for the sake of her three children, who are around the same age as her younger partner.
Macron was 15 when he fell in love with the then-married Brigitte Auzière, 25 years his senior. She was his drama teacher at the Catholic Providence school in Amiens, in northern France, and her daughter, Laurence, was Macron's classmate.
Macron's parents had believed their son was dating his teacher’s daughter, Laurence, until the truth came out through a family friend.
Shocked at the illicit affair, the Macrons removed their teenager from the school and sent him to boarding school in Paris, but his desire to be with his teacher and pursuit of her remained.
Their romance blossomed and caused a scandal in the province.
She said she told herself that, once Emmanuel was in Paris, he would 'fall in love with someone his [own] age', but that didn't happen.
Brigitte gave up her job, but said the 'only obstacles' were her children, as she didn't want to 'wreck their lives'.
'That lasted ten years, the time to put them on the rails. You can imagine what they were hearing. But I didn't want to miss out on my life,' she said.
Her son is three years older than Macron and her daughters, now aged 46 and 39, are of similar age to her second husband.
She also added that she doesn't know what her parents would have said about her marriage to her former student, but noted that her siblings would sometimes joke about the gossip surrounding her and Macron's relationship.
She finally married Macron - a civil servant in his late twenties at the time - in 2007, after divorcing her estranged husband André-Louis Auzière the year before.
The First Lady gave a little more insight into the Macrons' married life, which she usually remains tight-lipped about apart from mentioning the difficulties in the early years of their relationship were.
Despite already being married for 16 years, Brigitte said her husband still manages to surprise and amaze her with his impressive memory and intelligence.
'I had many brilliant pupils and none had his capability. I have always admired him,' she explained.
The couple enjoy a quiet life together in the Élysée Palace once the president comes home around 10 and 11pm, with Brigitte cooking him breakfast and sometimes dinner.
While her husband spends the day concentrating on political matters, France's First Lady teachers adult education for charity and focused on good causes.
She is used to the criticism that came with the public office now and takes comments on things like her clothes on the chin.
In her position, she meets many foreign leaders, and in her recent interview she praised the King and Queen, who visited Paris in September.
Brigitte admits to being worried at first, but these worries were squashed when Camilla greeted her with a kiss on the cheek, 'setting the tone'. She also praised Charles' humour.
'When the royal couple came, I was worried. But right from their arrival at the Arc de Triomphe, when Camilla got out of the car and kissed me, they set the tone,' she said. '[Charles] is very polished, very cultivated, very funny. What sums them up is their delicacy.'
She told how the the King and Queen met with her and Macron for a private aperitif at the Élysée Palace 'because they do not each much'.
'There were just the four of us. A marvellous moment. There they were - Charles and Camilla. The next day they left for Bordeaux.'