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FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE EMMANUEL, 39, MACRON MET HIS WIFE BRIGITTE, 64, WHEN HE WAS 15 AS MAN


Emmanuel Macron, the leader of political party En Marche! is the favourite to win the French presidential election, he met his Brigitte when he was just 15-years-old.

Now 39, he shared a classroom at a Catholic school with Brigitte’s daughter Laurence – who is the same age as Macron.

Emmanuel Macron, the front-runner in Sunday's French presidential election, have something in-common with President Trump: a 24-year age gap with his wife. The difference is that Macron's wife is the older one.

That phrase-busting fact - a candidate young enough to be his wife's son, rather than old enough to be her father - is a little social “revenge” that delights many French women, including Martine Bergossi.

“Why can't we marry younger men? I date them all the time,” said Bergossi, the stylish owner of Alternatives, a secondhand-couture shop in Paris, who prefers to leave her exact age to the imagination.

“It's normal to see men with younger women,” she said. “So it's rather great to see the opposite.”

France is famous for its relaxed attitude toward sex and love, yet the May-December romance between Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron has added a little excitement to a presidential campaign that is otherwise a deadly serious matter.

Macron, is a pro-European Union centrist, facing off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, a blunt populist who rails darkly against immigration and threatens to take France out of the European Union and NATO.

Macron, a former investment banker, is 39, and his wife just turned 64.

Macron was only 15 when he met Brigitte Trogneux, a married teacher at his high school in northern France who had three children. Macron's parents sent him to Paris to put distance between the teacher who ran the drama club and their precocious son, but their bond lasted, she divorced, and 10 years ago they were married.

Many French women interviewed said a politician's private life is not a reason to vote either for or against him or her. In the United States, too, Trump's two divorces, considerable age gap with his third wife, and even a recorded conversation in which he lewdly discussed groping women did not prevent his victory.

But just days before the French vote, nearly all women interviewed did say they were more interested in Macron, who was a virtual unknown until recently, because his marriage breaks the mould.

French politics has long been dominated by men with younger lovers.

When he hit the limelight footage emerged of him kissing his future wife on the cheek – when he was a teen and she was his married teacher 25 years his senior.

Now 39, he shared a classroom at a Catholic school with Brigitte’s daughter Laurence – who is the same age as Macron.

Glamour couple: Macron and his wife Brigitte were pictured on holiday in the South of

Macron and his wife Brigitte have also been the subject of jokes and political critics have seized on the age difference to paint Brigitte as a controlling force over “a schoolboy” candidate. Many declare on social media that he is gay - which Macron has publicly denied. A widely circulated mock photo on the Internet purports to show the couple's “first date”: a woman walking hand in hand at the beach with a toddler.

François Hollande, the current president, separated from his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, after a very public affair with an actress 18 years his junior. Former president François Mitterrand took a mistress half his age when he was in his 40s, a younger woman who famously stood near his wife at his funeral in 1996.

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