Newly-elected to the French presidency, Emmanuel Macron has a message for those who are seemingly still caught up on the 24 year age difference between him and his wife, Brigitte Trogneaux: it's time to get past the blatant sexism.
Yes, the 39-year-old politician married a woman who taught him drama in school, but the couple's age difference isn't nearly as uncommon as you might think. Need proof? As Glamour points out, President Donald Trump and his third wife, Melania, are nearly two dozen years apart as well.
What's more? According to The Washington Post, although the age gap between Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron is bigger than the gap between any other French president and their spouse at the time of their inauguration, Macron's immediate predecessors (Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy) both divorced while in office and began seeing significantly younger women. Hollande quickly entered a relationship with actress Julia Gayet, 18 years his junior, while Sarkozy married former model Carla Bruni, who is 13 years younger than him.
The publication also points out there are two world leaders with even larger age gaps between their partners or spouses. For example, Brazilian president is 33 years older than his spouse.
The crucial difference here is that Macron is the much younger party, not his wife.
France's president-elect attributes the fascination with his relationship with Brigitte (the couple tied the knot in 2007) to good old-fashioned sexism. "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]," he told Le Parisien last month. "It's because she is 20 years older than me that lots of people say, 'This relationship can't be tenable.'"
"It says a lot about the misogyny in France," Macron continued. "There is a big problem with the presentation of society and how they see the place of a woman."
Trogneaux's daughter, Tiphaine Auzière, agrees. Via The Independent: "I find abhorrent in France in the 21st century such attacks, which would not be carried out against a male politician or a male companion of a female politician.... On the ground, on the contrary, I meet people who admire what she does, her work, her involvement."
The incoming leader also addressed rumors he had been in a relationship with Mathieu Gallet, the chief executive of the Institut National de L'audiovisuel, saying the speculation highlights the "rampant homophobia" in society.
Brigitte was a close adviser during to her husband during his campaign, and, according to Vogue. has plans to assume a newly-defined, unpaid role at the Élysée when President-elect Macron formally takes office later this month.
She has her husband's full support, though that should come as no surprise. Macron declared on the campaign trail that he "wants to be recognized as a feminist by women," and we're happy to see he's starting things off on the right foot at home.