Autistic interviewers ask French President Macron: "Why did you marry your teacher?"
The question addressed to the French President about his marriage to his high school teacher was personal and unusual, in a country where politicians try not to reveal their private lives. Even the interviewer who collected the question from the autistic students didn't have the courage to ask it. Finally he presented Macron with the question on a paper without reading it, and the President read from the page out loud.
"He is the President, he should serve as an example and not marry his teacher," read Emmanuel Macron and laughed, along with the others present in the room. Then he answered the question seriously.
Macron met with interviewers on the autistic continuum, on behalf of their newspaper "Le Papotin", which was founded in 1990 in a day-care centre in the Paris area.
Over the years, Le Papotin's unpaid but enthusiastic staff have interviewed several French personalities, including Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. The interview with Macron was filmed in Paris in November, and was broadcast on television at the weekend.
The editors of the newspaper defined the interviewers as "unconventional journalists", and they asked the 45-year-old President a series of personal questions that regular journalists dare not ask.
They asked Macron about his marriage to his teacher, Brigitte, his circle of friends, his financial situation, his relationship with Vladimir Putin and other topics.
The interview gave Macron an opportunity to demonstrate humanity and sensitivity, for a change, in the midst of his second term as President.
Brigitte Macron, who is 24 years older than the President, met Emmanuel when he was a high school student and taught him theatre. At that time she was married and a mother of three. The two fell in love and had an affair, and Brigitte divorced and moved to live with Emmanuel in Paris. The couple married in 2007, a decade before Macron became President.
"It's not a question of being an example or not, you understand? When you're in love, the choice is not yours," Macron told interviewers about the beginning of his relationship with Brigitte. "She wasn't really my teacher, she was my theatre teacher, it's not exactly the same," the French President stated.
When one of the interviewers asked the President: "Do you have a lot of money?", Macron replied that today he earns (directly and as official salary) less than the salary he earned before entering politics, when he was a banker.
On his relationship with Russian President Putin, Macron commented: "The paradox is that when you meet him, it's not that he's an unpleasant person."
About his circle of friends, Macron said, honestly: "This is not the best job for someone who wants a lot of friends."
After half an hour of being interviewed, Macron thanked the interviewers and praised them for their work. He had escaped lightly. In one earlier session the intrepid journalists had suggested: “Shouldn’t we put young people in the Senate instead of all those old croutons?”