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Hollande 'needs time' to decide about relationship

President Francois Hollande has told his First Lady he needs more time before deciding whether to end their relationship, according to the magazine where she works.

Paris Match, where Valerie ­Trierweiler is employed as a ­journalist, yesterday carried a lengthy insider's account of the First Lady's eight-day hospital stay following the exposure of Mr Hollande's love affair with an actress, Julie Gayet.

During a half-hour visit to her bedside on Thursday night ­President Hollande reportedly told his partner he "needed time" to decide between her and Ms Gayet.

In the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, sources for the ­president said the relationship was over and Ms Trierweiler would be asked to leave the Elysee Palace.

It is understood Mr Hollande's affair with Ms Gayet may have started more than two years ago

Ms Trierweiler left the La ­Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris on Saturday afternoon and is now "resting" at the Pavillon de la Lanterne, the French equivalent of Chequers, near the Palace of Versailles.

On Saturday she issued a brief statement thanking well-wishers for the many messages of support she has received during her stay in hospital, during which it was reported she had taken "one pill too many" after the president's affair was made public.

In a tweet - her first public comment since the scandal broke - Ms Trierweiler, 48, said: "Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those who have sent messages of support wishing me a speedy recovery via Twitter, text and mail. Very touched."

Paris Match yesterday ran a report apparently based on conversations between the First Lady and her colleagues at the magazine. The article implied she knows her relationship with Mr Hollande is finished.

"She needs time, years, to absorb the most violent shock of her life - the cheating of the man who was her partner for eight years," Paris Match said. "The worst was to discover in the press that the affair with Julie Gayet started before the election [in May 2012].

"Stricken, humiliated, she finds herself torn between her immense distress and her impetuousness, between questions about her future and her anger. Today Valerie ­Trierweiler is perhaps at the end of a journey.

"She found herself projected into the centre of power. She learned . . . she suffered. She now needs a space in which slowly to find her feet."

President Hollande spent the weekend in Correze in south-west France, where he used to be mayor. Trailed by foreign and French television crews, he ignored shouted questions about the scandal and the future of the First Lady.

At a press conference last ­week, Mr Hollande said he would make a statement on his relationship with Ms Trierweiler before February 9, when the couple are due to leave Paris for a visit to the White House. The French press says it is now likely that Mr Hollande will make the journey alone.

At their half-hour meeting in the hospital on Thursday night, which was calm but not warm, according to Paris Match, it was decided Ms Trierweiler would move to La Lanterne to await Mr Hollande's decision.

Mr Hollande's approval rating remained unchanged following last week's news conference.

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