Trudeau and Wife Sophie Separating After 18 Years of Marriage

By Reuters
August 2, 2023Canada
Trudeau and Wife Sophie Separating After 18 Years of Marriage
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau (L) arrive at Westminster Abbey in London on Sept. 19, 2022. (Geoff Pugh/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

OTTAWA—Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie said on Wednesday they were separating in an unexpected announcement that appeared to mark the end of the couple’s 18-year high-profile marriage.

The couple had talked frankly in the past about difficulties in their relationship and in recent years were seen less often together in public.

Mr. Trudeau, 51, and Ms. Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, 48, were married in May 2005 and have three children, aged 15, 14, and 9. On their anniversary in 2020, he described her as ” my rock, my partner, and my best friend.”

For Mr. Trudeau there are also painful historical parallels. His father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, separated from his wife, Ms. Margaret, in 1977, when he was in office.

The development is one of the biggest personal crises for Trudeau since he became prime minister in 2015, especially since he often stresses the importance of family life.

The couple made the announcement a week after Trudeau unveiled a massive cabinet shuffle in a bid to boost the fortunes of his Liberal Party, which is trailing in the polls. Aides said he was determined to lead the Liberals into the next election, which must be held by October 2025.

“Sophie and I would like to share the fact that after many meaningful and difficult conversations, we have made the decision to separate,” Mr. Trudeau said on Instagram. Ms. Gregoire-Trudeau posted an almost identical message on her own Instagram account.

Mr. Trudeau’s office said the two had signed a legal agreement, stressing that the couple would focus on raising their children. The family will go on vacation together next week.

Ms. Gregoire-Trudeau will be moving into separate accommodation in Ottawa but plans to spend plenty of time with the children in Rideau Cottage, the prime minister’s official residence, to ensure they have a normal an upbringing as possible, said a source familiar with the situation.

The source, who requested anonymity because of the extreme sensitivity of the situation, said the couple would have joint custody of the children.

Ms. Gregoire-Trudeau was working as a reporter when she met Trudeau in 2003. They married two years later.

Mr. Trudeau was only 43 when he became prime minister in late 2015 and the sharply-dressed couple quickly captured the attention of the world media.

In the early years after Mr. Trudeau took office, he and Sophie were often seen together at social functions and on foreign trips. In February 2018, during a visit to India, the two of them dressed in colorful costumes most days, prompting derisive comments back home.

Mr. Trudeau, though, made clear even before he became prime minister that the two had faced challenges, writing in his autobiography Common Ground in 2014 that “our marriage isn’t perfect, and we have had difficult ups and downs.”

In recent years, Ms. Gregoire-Trudeau has curtailed joint appearances with her husband and signs of stress were clear.

On their wedding anniversary last year, she said in a social media post that “we have navigated through sunny days, heavy storms, and everything in between and it ain’t over.”

She went on: “long-term relationships are challenging in so many ways”.

The two of them did travel to London in May for the coronation of King Charles and were together when U.S. President Joe Biden visited in late March.

Mr. Trudeau gave a news conference on Monday and took a ride on the Toronto subway that night but has had no public appearances scheduled for the last two days. As recently as Monday, he was still wearing his wedding ring.

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