On the day a national strike brought Nicolas Sarkozy his first big showdown with unions it emerged he and his wife Cecilia have divorced.
It is a severe personal blow to the French President just six months after he was elected to power.
The announcement from Sarkozy’s office ended months of speculation that their 11-year marriage was on the rocks.
It said the pair were separating by mutual consent and would not discuss the issue any further. It was later confirmed that they were divorced.
The couple’s lawyer said they had already seen a judge to formalise the split and had agree financial terms.
It is the first time in modern French history that a
serving president has divorced and Sarkozy’s reaction to the split will come under intense scrutiny.
Opposition politicians accused Sarkozy of timing the
announcement to overshadow the strike against pension reforms.