Emmanuel Macron faces a testing week as reports that even his wife Brigitte finds him arrogant add to damaging revelations in a new biography of her confidante and he struggles to keep his government on track.
Mr Macron is struggling to reshuffle his government after the resignations of two high-profile ministers, one of whom complained on television that his presidency “lacked humility”.
He suffered further damage to his reputation with reports on Sunday that his wife is also fed up with his “high-handed” manner.
Brigitte Macron has urged the president’s entourage to speak truth to power, complaining that she is one of a very few people who dare tell him when he is being overborne, according to Le Parisien newspaper. He is “too arrogant, too snappy,” she has reportedly told members of her inner circle.
Mrs Macron has also vowed revenge on the person who spread rumours that her husband was in a gay relationship, according to a new book.
Her remarks appear in an unauthorised biography of Michèle ‘Mimi” Marchand, a public relations advisor to the Macrons and the owner of a celebrity photo agency, Bestimage.
The book, to be published in French on Wednesday, has also embarrassed the first couple by depicting the Macrons as excessively reliant on Ms Marchand, a PR legend who ran lesbian nightclubs in the 1990s and whose former partner was jailed for armed robbery.
The book claims that Ms Marchand, 71, used her paparazzi connections on behalf of Mrs Macron to track down the source of the gay rumours, which Mr Macron has been forced to deny.
Mrs Macron, who at 65 is nearly 25 years older than her husband, is fed up with the media focusing on her age and was particularly annoyed by social media posts wrongly claiming that she lied about her date of birth, Le Parisien reported. The paper quoted a friend as saying: “She’s sick of talk of her age, she’s had enough.”
Mrs Macron reportedly arranged a dinner “à trois” after Gérard Collomb, her husband’s onetime mentor and former interior minister, announced his intention to resign.
Her attempt at reconciliation failed. Mr Collomb, 71, who once remarked that he regarded Mr Macron “almost as a son”, insisted on quitting and castigated the president’s “top-down” leadership style.
Mr Macron’s much-delayed government relaunch is now expected this week after a struggle to persuade new recruits to join his beleaguered cabinet and a row over its composition with his prime minister, Edouard Philippe.