OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced yesterday that he and his wife of 18 years, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, are separating.
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”.
But they asked for privacy ahead of a family vacation scheduled for next week.
Trudeau and his wife, a former entertainment reporter, were childhood friends and reconnected in 2003 while co-hosting a charity ball. They soon started dating and married in 2005 in Montreal.
They have three children together: Xavier, 15, Ella Grace, 14, and nine-year-old Hadrien.
The separation is the first for a Canadian prime minister since Trudeau’s late father Pierre Trudeau, who split from Margaret Trudeau in the late 1970s and eventually divorced in 1984 during his final months in office.
‘Sunny days, heavy storms’
In his 2014 memoir Common Ground, the younger Trudeau recalled that the “dark drama” at home and his parents’ eventual divorce had been hard on him.
His own breakup comes as Trudeau’s ruling Liberals are struggling in the polls against the opposition Conservatives ahead of elections expected before the end of 2025.
Trudeau announced last week a major shakeup in his cabinet with the stated goal of strengthening his economic team ahead of that looming campaign.
This involved changing more than two-thirds of his political inner circle, with seven new recruits joining the cabinet and around 20 ministers reassigned to new roles.
Sophie Gregoire, 48, had been a constant presence at her 51-year-old husband’s side at political events over the past decade, as he took the party from third place to form a government in 2015, and through two more winning ballots in 2019 and 2021.
But she has appeared in public less in recent years, at times lamenting the struggles of marriage, saying last year in a social media post that they had “navigated through sunny days, heavy storms and everything in between”.
Trudeau himself has also hinted at difficulties, writing in his memoir: “Our marriage isn’t perfect, and we have had difficult ups and downs, yet Sophie remains my best friend, my partner, my love. We are honest with each other, even when it hurts.”
On their latest anniversary in May, Trudeau posted a photo online of the pair holding hands as they drove along a remote Canadian highway in a motor home, with the caption “Every mile of this journey together is an adventure. I love you Soph”. — AFP