Emmanuel Macron was just elected president of France after a contentious election cycle, but now, he's speaking out about an issue that's decidedly personal: the age difference between himself and his wife, Brigitte Macron. He is 39 and she is 64.
"If I had been 20 years older than my wife, nobody would have thought for a single second that I couldn’t be [an intimate partner]," Macron told French news outlet Le Parisien. "It's because she is 20 years older than me that lots of people say, 'This [relationship] can’t be tenable, it can't be possible.'"
Coincidentally, the age difference between Macron and his wife happens to be the same as that between President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, though their ages have been a topic less covered by the media.
Macron also said that discussion about his wife's age is a form of "misogyny" and people ascribing to "traditional, homogenous" views about society. The president-elect also dismissed rumors that he is gay and that his marriage is just for show as "rampant homophobia."
Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Trogneux married in 2007, when he was 29 and she was 54. The couple met when Macron was 15 years old, according to CNN; Brigitte, who at the time was married to banker André-Louis Auzière, with three children, was Macron's teacher and directed him in a school play. There isn't a clear date as to when the pair's relationship became a romantic one, and Trogneux would like to keep it under wraps. In a book recently published on Macron's life, she defended her decision. ""Nobody will ever know at what moment our story became a love story. That belongs to us. That is our secret."
Macron also told the outlet, "There is a big problem with the presentation of society and [how they see] the place of women."