The Untold Truth Of Marine Le Pen

Chances are that if you're interested in international politics, then you've heard of Marine Le Pen. In April 2022, the French lawyer and politician made global headlines for giving French President Emmanuel Macron a run for his money in France's presidential election. Le Pen, who has run for president twice before and is doing so as a far-right candidate, has been proving to be quite a force this time around. 

It appears that Macron and Le Pen, who are the top contenders in the race, hold very different views on several issues. While Le Pen is known for being a nationalist and is anti-immigration, Macron is pro-European and a centrist. Yet Le Pen has seemingly found her success in appealing to French people's wallets, addressing inflation and the need for more jobs in the country. She explained (via AP News), "I obviously consider that immigration and insecurity are serious problems ... but there's not just that. I worry about making ends meet as much as the end of France."

Le Pen has been in politics for a long time, previously serving as the president of the National Rally, a far-right political party, for a decade between 2011 and 2021. During that time, she worked to revamp the party's image to seem less extreme and is now doing the same with her latest presidential campaign. It's clear that Le Pen is making a name for herself not only in France but around the world. So let's get to know the woman who may be France's next president.

The politician's traumatic childhood

Marine Le Pen had a traumatic childhood that consisted of a violent attack on her family when she was only 8 years old. According to BBC News, in 1976, a bomb meant for her controversial politician father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, exploded in their Paris apartment building, leaving Marine and her sisters terrified but the family thankfully uninjured. As Marine Le Pen recalled in her autobiography (via BBC News), "[We] were on our knees shivering, holding hands, praying with the fervor of despair ... when we heard the voice of our father shouting, 'Girls, girls, are you alive?'"

What's worse is that the incident evidently made Le Pen an outcast at school since her family was then deemed dangerous by others. She explained, "A cordon sanitaire was created around us — don't go near the Le Pens." However, she did credit the experience as a reason why she became a lawyer and politician, once saying, per Spiegel International, "I felt the deep injustice that would accompany me throughout my life. ... It was my driving force."

Unfortunately, that wasn't the only devastating moment in Le Pen's childhood, as her mother left the family when the future politician was 16 to be with her dad's biographer. Le Pen revealed how that impacted her in her autobiography, writing (via BBC News), "For a month and a half I vomited every day. I was incapable of feeding myself." The Guardian reports that her parents went on to have a nasty divorce battle that played out in the public eye and even led to her mother vengefully being photographed for Playboy.

Marine Le Pen got her start as a lawyer

Marine Le Pen started her career as a lawyer. According to U.S. News & World Report, in 1990, at only 22 years old, Le Pen earned her law degree at the prestigious University of Paris II-Assas. The next year, she graduated with her criminal law postgraduate degree and became a public defender in Paris. BBC News reports that despite her well-known anti-immigration stance, her clients had consisted of illegal immigrants, but she later said she still represented them fairly. "They're human beings, they have rights, you're not going to blame them for immigration policy," she explained.

Regardless of her best efforts, Le Pen was apparently not finding the success she wanted in her law career, most likely due to her famous and controversial surname. In fact, other lawyers would apparently often shun La Pen because of her father's politics, which had to make doing her job rather difficult. "Her last name was always a burden," author Cecile Alduy told NPR. "She has described how being the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen as the National Front was emerging as a new controversial force ... lead her to idealize her father. ... But she also suffered."

In 1998, following only a six-year tenure as a lawyer, Le Pen decided to leave criminal law to join the National Front's legal department instead. It appeared to be a good career move, because — whether it due to her father's influence or not — she quickly rose up in their ranks to become the political force she is today.

The French presidential candidate's political career

Marine Le Pen's political career progressed pretty quickly after she became a legal adviser to her father's political party, the National Front, in 1998. According to CNN, only a few years later, Le Pen went on to become the party's vice president before eventually taking over as president in 2011. She was also a member of the French Parliament and European Union, even though she openly expressed that she believed France shouldn't be part of the latter, per U.S. World and News Report.

Additionally, as previously mentioned, the 2022 election isn't Le Pen's first time running for president of France, either. In fact, she ran twice before — once in 2012 and again in 2017. During her 2017 campaign, Le Pen often promoted a "France First" ideal, similar to former President Donald Trump's "America First" slogan, hence her reluctance to the European Union, as well as NATO.

Le Pen also decided to tone down her far-right image and her nationalist rhetoric for her 2022 campaign to seemingly appeal to more voters. A political researcher explained to AlJazeera, "What Marine Le Pen is doing is smoothing over her political image, where she presents herself as very practical and does not highlight her most extreme ideas." Indeed, Le Pen has not only begun presenting herself as pro-women's and pro-LGBTQ+ rights, but has also emphasized how her policies will help the people of France pay their bills, per AP News. Yet, she has still openly remained against immigration and what the outlet called "political Islam," despite her apparent political changes.

Shifting the Le Pen reputation

While Marine Le Pen followed in her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen's, footsteps by going into politics, she seemingly has different principles than him. Jean-Marie is known for his controversial, far-right views and for even making anti-Semitic remarks. According to CNN, in 2013 — just two years after Marine became president of the National Front, the political party her dad had formed — she expelled him from it for reportedly reiterating previous comments he made about the Holocaust. 

What's more is that, in 2018, Marine rebranded his former party in order to change its toxic and controversial image, renaming it the National Rally. Her father was apparently not happy about any of it, and the two became estranged for years, per BBC News. "For the sake of politics and for the sake of France, she did the hardest thing a child can do — she cut the cord with her father," her close pal explained. However, in April 2022, AP News reported that Jean-Marie had thrown his support behind his daughter's presidential run, so they presumedly reconciled.

Although Marine's views may be less extreme than her father's, she does have a few controversial politics of her own, specifically her proposal to ban Muslims from wearing headscarves in public. Politico reports that she's also known for having a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom she has openly admired for years. If she becomes president, Marine also plans for France and Russia to be allies after the war in Ukraine ends.

Inside Marine Le Pen's personal life

Marine Le Pen may be single, as of this writing, but the French presidential candidate has been married twice. According to Express, Le Pen first tied the knot back in 1995, when she was still working as a lawyer. Her first husband, Franck Chauffroy, had worked as a National Rally business executive. While they split in 2000 after only five years of marriage, they did have three children. Not much is known about their kids other than that they were all born within one year, with daughter Jehane first in 1998, followed by twins Mathilde and Louis in 1999, per Then24. Le Pen has reportedly kept them out of the spotlight so they wouldn't have the same stressful childhood she did with a parent involved in politics.

In 2002, Le Pen apparently decided to give marriage another shot with Eric Loiro, who had served as the party's national secretary. Yet, having shared interests apparently wasn't enough, because the couple went on to divorce in 2006, per Express.

While Le Pen hasn't remarried since, her romance with former boyfriend Louis Aliot (pictured above) was her longest relationship to date, considering the two dated from 2009 to 2019. Aliot was a lawyer who served as a vice president of the National Rally and has a political career of his own. Perhaps that's why Aliot once indicated his disinterest in becoming France's "First Lady" (via the Independent). Either way, it seems like they left things on good terms, considering he expressed his support of Le Pen following their split.

What is Marine Le Pen's net worth?

No matter the outcome of the 2022 France presidential election, it's safe to say that Marine Le Pen is still a success in terms of finances. According to Celebrity Net Worth, she is worth $850,000, which will most likely grow due to her increased popularity. While Le Pen seemingly works hard in her career, she revealed in 2017 that some of her income comes from just being born rich. That's because she credited half her net worth at the time to her 12.5% stake in her family's Saint Cloud estate. As of 2011, she resided there with her sister, per Spiegel International.

Yet that isn't Le Pen's only home, as she reportedly has other properties that add up to $700,000. One of those could be her home in Millas, a town in the South of France, which she bought when dating her ex, Louis Aliot, back in 2010. Outside of real estate, it's unclear how Le Pen spends her money or her free time, considering she has kept her personal life very private. However, Le Pen probably uses some of her riches to spoil her beloved cats. According to The Guardian, the politician has been open about her love for her pets and is even a registered cat breeder. BBC News also reports that Le Pen often shares her cats on social media. 

With that said, it's clear Le Pen is a complex woman, who has not only led an intriguing life but has definitely kept the French political scene very interesting.