Tabloid ordered to pay actress Gayet over Hollande affair claims
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A French court on Thursday ordered tabloid magazine Closer to pay French actress Julie Gayet €15,000 ($21,000) in damages for breach of privacy for revealing her alleged relationship with President François Hollande.
The sum fell far short of the €50,000 that Gayet, 41, had asked for when she filed the suit in the weeks after Closer set off a political earthquake by publishing photos in January of Hollande and the actress arriving separately at a Paris apartment for alleged trysts.
The court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre also ordered the magazine to publish the full ruling on its front page.
Hollande, 59, publicly split with his longtime partner Valérie Trierweiler, 49, following the scandal but has refused to comment further on his private life or the nature of his relationship with Gayet.
As well as the civil suit, Gayet has filed two other criminal complaints: one for breach of privacy over separate photos published by Closer of her taken inside her car, which under French law qualifies as a private space, and another accusing paparazzi of "endangering others" by allegedly hounding her.
During court hearings, Gayet's lawyer Jean Ennochi said the actress had been "hunted" by the press.
"She was assaulted by swarms of photographers... it was like the hunt of a wild animal," he said.
Closer's lawyer, Delphine Pando, told the court that the magazine was justified in publishing the photographs. She said they were in the public interest because they raised questions about presidential security – Hollande allegedly arrived at the apartment on the back of a scooter with a bodyguard – and his "duty of transparency" as president.
Gayet, a mother of two who has acted in more than 70 films over a 20-year career, has kept a low profile since the scandal broke.
During a rare public appearance in New York this month she fended off questions about her relationship with Hollande, telling a reporter: "My private life is my private life."
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)