Closer told to pay actress Gayet €15k in damages

Closer magazine has been ordered by a court to pay €15,000 in damages to actress Julie Gayet over its exposé of her affair with the French President François Hollande.

Closer told to pay actress Gayet €15k in damages
The compensation was far lower than the €50,000 Gayet had asked for. Photo: AFP

A French court on Thursday ordered Closer magazine to pay actress Julie Gayet €15,000 ($21,000) over breach of privacy after it revealed her affair with President Francois Hollande in January.

The compensation was far lower than the €50,000 Gayet had asked for. The court in the suburb of Nanterre also told the magazine to publish the ruling on its front page.

Closer set off a political earthquake in France in January by publishing photos of Hollande, 59, and Gayet, 41, arriving separately at a Paris apartment for alleged trysts. Sales of the magazine soared with Closer having to publish an extra 300,000 copies, meaning it almost doubled its usual press run of 330,000.

Hollande split with longtime partner Valerie Trierweiler, 49, following the scandal but has refused to comment further on his private life or the nature of his relationship with Gayet.

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 the magazine was justified in publishing the photographs. She said they were in the public interest because they raised questions about presidential security and Hollande's "duty of transparency".

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 a car, which under French law qualifies at a private space; and another accusing paparazzi of "endangering others" by allegedly hounding her.

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."

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