Splitting in office, big deal? No big deal

The only thing that gets tongues wagging more than when political leaders marry in office is when they split in office. After 18 years of being Mister and Missus, and the former having been seven-and-a-half years into Canadian prime ministership, Justin and Sophie Trudeau announced on Wednesday that they will be going their separate ways. On paper, nothing remotely odd about that. Adults decide to share their lives together, even marry, and then can decide not to share their lives together any longer, even divorce. In fusty countries like the US, Potus and Flotus getting separated in the bridal whiteness of White House may seem to many as a loss of values, tradition being upstaged by the couple who is supposed to be the epitome of American values. Indeed, the Clintons, despite not being as thick as Fred and Wilma après-Lewinsky stuck it out for ‘god and country’ — not necessarily in that order.

The Europeans are far less self-conscious. Nicolas Sarkozy and his successor François Hollande both divorced while they were French presidents. As did Vladimir Putin when he ‘completed’ the divorce with his wife of 31 years. Boris Johnson got married in office in 2021, but not before he divorced his first wife a year before. For those who don’t much care for either marriage or divorce, there’s always that option of being married to your job.

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