Brigitte Macron: who is Emmanuel Macron’s teacher wife, age, children - what she said about French election

The relationship between the French president and his older wife has sparked controversy in the past

Following a strong performance by a left-wing alliance and the far right, Emmanuel Macron has lost control of the French National Assembly less than two months after being re-elected president.

His centrist coalition lost dozens of seats in an election that has splintered French politics; Macron's political manoeuvring will be made difficult by the situation, which is unusual in France.

But who is Macron’s wife, what has she said about her role in politics, and why has their relationship caused controversy?

Here is everything you need to know about her.

Who is Brigitte Macron?

Brigitte Macron is the wife of Emmanuel Macron, the current President of France.

Born Brigitte Marie-Claude Trogneux in Amiens, she is the youngest of six children of Simone and Jean Trogneux, the owners of the five-generation Chocolaterie Trogneux, founded in 1872.

Despite being married to the French president, Macron is not the “First Lady”, as the spouse of the French president currently holds no official title.

(Photo: THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2019, her husband proposed creating an official title which would come with its own staff, office and a personally allocated budget for their activities.

These plans were abandoned after a petition against his proposal gathered more than 275,000 signatures.

Was she Macron’s teacher?

At 69-years-old, Brigitte Macron is 24 years her presidential husband’s senior.

The two met when Brigitte was a married French and Latin teacher at Amiens’ Lycée la Providence, a Jesuit high school - and one that Macron attended.

The future president of France took her literature lessons, and she was the teacher in charge of his theatre class.

She already had children of her own, and their connection has sparked controversy due to the large age difference - when the pair first met, she was 40-years-old, and Emmanuel Macron just 15.

Emmanuel has described their relationship as "a love often clandestine, often hidden, misunderstood by many before imposing itself".

In an unusually intimate interview with France’s RTL radio in 2019, Brigitte Macron said that when the two fell in love, “it took me a while to realise what was happening, and then to make the leap and become his wife”.

She divorced her first husband - banker André-Louis Auzière - in early 2006, and married Macron less than two years later in October 2007

(Photo: Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

“Of course I hurt (my children). Like all parents who separate hurt their children,” she said. “But at one point, I understood that Emmanuel was my life, and they understood.

“Being in a couple is complicated,” she added, “and when there is a big age difference like ours, even more so.”

But she doesn’t like being called a “cougar”, saying: “I was always attracted to men my age. Emmanuel was an exception.”

What is their relationship like?

In the same radio interview, Brigitte Macron also described the challenges of her relationship with a man 24 years her junior.

Noting how it hurt her children - she has three children by her previous husband - when the two first came together, she said “we are not an ideal couple”.

She said she and Macron keep each other in line and never go to bed angry, and insist on sharing breakfast and dinner — even if he goes back to reading his files at midnight.

What has she previously said about politics?

Brigitte Macron was an active participant in her husband’s first presidential campaign in 2017, with a key adviser stating that "her presence is essential for him."

Emmanuel Macron declared during the campaign that if he were to win, his wife would "have the role that she always had with [him], she will not be hidden".

(Photo: LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

But Brigitte has made it clear she is nowhere near as interested or involved in politics as her husband, and has no plans on becoming so.

In a 2019 interview, she said Macron’s election as president “terrified” her and insisted that she had no political ambitions of her own.

“I have neither the taste nor the competence for politics,” she said, adding that having her husband as president “doesn’t suit me, but I make it work”.

Brigitte Macron did have a brief dalliance with politics some 33 years ago, when she unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the city council of Truchtersheim in north-eastern France.

What did she say after her husband’s re-election?

Addressing the Parisian crowds following her husband’s successful re-election bid in April 2021, Brigitte Macron said: "France is the most beautiful country in the world, the problem is that we don’t always know it.

She added: "We all want things to change. I know that we can do it and I know we are extraordinary.

"I have lived through his five years of work and I know where he wants to go. I have immense confidence in him."