Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday announced that he and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau are separating.
They are separating after 18 years of marriage, and while they plan to co-parent their children, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau will no longer be considered the prime minister’s spouse in any official capacity.
In a post on Instagram, the prime minister said “that after many meaningful and difficult conversations, we have made the decision to separate.” A statement from his office added that the couple have signed “a legal separation agreement.”
It said the public can expect to continue seeing them and their three children together as “they remain a close family” and both parents will be a “constant presence in their children’s lives.”
For the well-being of their children, the Trudeaus asked Canadians to respect the family’s privacy at this time.
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The prime minister and Gregoire Trudeau have three children: Xavier who is 15, Ella-Grace who is 14, and Hadrien who is nine. In a separate release, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) confirmed that the pair have “signed a legal separation agreement.” “They have worked to ensure that all legal and ethical steps with regards to their decision to separate have been taken, and will continue to do so moving forward,” PMO spokesperson Alison Murphy said in the statement.
Trudeau’s office said that the prime minister and Sophie are “focused on raising their kids in a safe, loving and collaborative environment,” and both will be “a constant presence in their children’s lives.”
Canadians can expect “to often see the family together, and they plan to be together on vacation, beginning next week,” at a yet-to-be disclosed location. Recent family holidays have seen the Trudeaus jet off to Montana and Jamaica.
Trudeau and his family have lived in Rideau Cottage on the Rideau Hall grounds in Ottawa since he became prime minister, given the state of disrepair of the prime minister’s official residence at 24 Sussex Drive. He also has a cottage at Harrington Lake, in Gatineau, Que.
A HIGH-PROFILE RELATIONSHIP
As a political power couple, the pair has had a high public and international profile predating Trudeau’s time in elected office. Already, the news of their legal separation has been picked up by outlets across the world.
Justin Trudeau leaves with his new bride Sophie Gregoire in his father’s 1959 Mercedes 300 SL after their marriage ceremony in Montreal on May 28, 2005. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)
Trudeau, 51, and Gregoire Trudeau, 48, were married on May 28, 2005 at a widely-covered ceremony in Montreal, after Trudeau and the then-Quebec TV personality became engaged in 2004.
The pair first met in their youth, as Gregoire Trudeau went to school with Trudeau’s youngest brother, Michel, and then reconnected and began dating after co-hosting the Montreal Grand Prix charity ball in 2003.
In an anniversary post last year, Gregoire Trudeau spoke about the pair navigating “sunny days, heavy storms, and everything in between.” In the social media post, she acknowledged that long-term relationships can be “challenging in so many ways.”
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In a post marking the occasion this year, the prime minister shared a photo of the couple holding hands, with the caption: “Every mile of this journey together is an adventure. I love you, Soph. Happy anniversary!”
Gregoire Trudeau has played a prominent role alongside Trudeau in his successive election campaigns, with CTV News political analyst and commentator Scott Reid describing her as “a very effective political asset.”
And, while she has been at the prime minister’s side on fewer public occasions recently— prompting predictable speculation about the state of their relationship—she has continued to use her platform to promote causes that she cares about, including mental health and wellness, as well as women’s rights.
This spring it was announced that she is writing two books that will be published by Penguin Random House.
The separation is the first for a Canadian prime minister since Trudeau’s late father Pierre Trudeau, who split from Margaret Trudeau and eventually divorced in 1984 during his final months in office.