First lady seeking revenge against source of gay rumours
Brigitte Macron wants revenge on the person who spread rumours that her husband was in a gay relationship, according to a new book.
Her remarks appear in an unauthorised biography of Michele ‘‘Mimi’’ Marchand, owner of the celebrity photo agency Bestimage and public relations adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife.
Mimi depicts the Macrons as dependent on Marchand, the former partner of an armed robber who has spent time in jail and who ran lesbian nightclubs in the 1990s.
The French first lady told the authors, Jean-Michel Decugis, Pauline Guena and Marc Leplongeon, that Marchand, 71, had taught the couple how the media worked.
She was especially grateful to her for tracking down the source of the homosexuality rumours about Emmanuel Macron during his election campaign.
‘‘She knows now who damaged them and she calmly told us: ‘This will be eaten cold’,’’ the authors wrote.
As in English, the French have a saying that ‘‘revenge is a dish best served cold’’.
Emmanuel Macron, 40, has denied the rumours. To counter them during the campaign, Marchand arranged ‘‘fake paparazzi’’ pictures to boost his heterosexual image, the book says. Published in Paris Match magazine, they showed the Macrons strolling in swimming costumes in Biarritz.
Brigitte Macron, 65, told the authors that she trusted Marchand, who visits the Elysee Palace once a week, but she felt isolated.
‘‘Unfortunately, we are now alone,’’ they quoted her as saying. ‘‘The Elysee wants it that way. We can no longer trust anyone. I trust Emmanuel and Emmanuel trusts me. That’s it.’’
The book, to be published in France next week, describes the fear that Marchand and her connections inspire in the French celebrity and political world.
Francois Hollande, the previous president, told the authors he believed that Marchand was behind the exposure of his liaison with Julie Gayet, an actress, in 2014. ‘‘The queen of the paparazzi’’ was dangerous, he said.
Carla Bruni, wife of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, was upset in 2016 when she heard that her friend Marchand had taken up with the Macrons in 2016, according to French newspaper Liberation . It published a text message in which Bruni appeared to liken Marchand to a turncoat.
‘‘I’m thrilled that Brigitte Macron has given you her trust. On my side, [I’m giving you] less. At the next revolution, you’ll turn your trousers?’’ the message read.
Marchand, who was once sacked as a magazine editor for inventing an interview with the bodyguard of Princess Diana, did not speak to the authors, and many of her friends were reluctant to talk.
She remains highly visible in the Macron entourage. In July, she was in the Paris flat where French newspaper Le Monde was interviewing Alexandre Benalla, the former bodyguard whose misconduct damaged the president.
A new book says Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron’s public relations adviser tracked down the source of homosexuality rumours about the French president.