"I told myself that he would fall in love with someone his [own] age," Brigitte said of her now-husband Emmanuel Macron, who developed feelings for her when he was 15. "It didn’t happen"
Brigitte Macron says that entertaining a relationship with her now-husband, French President Emmanuel Macron, was initially "crippling," due to their 24-year age gap — and the fact that she was his high school teacher at the time.
Brigitte — who opened up about her marriage's controversial beginnings in a new interview with Paris Match — was a 39-year-old drama teacher at a Catholic school in northern France when Emmanuel, then 15, developed feelings for her.
"For me," she said — as translated by The Independent — "such a young boy was crippling."
While Emmanuel's parents initially suspected he was dating Brigitte's daughter, the truth eventually came out and he was sent off to a boarding school.
"Emmanuel had to leave for Paris," said Brigitte, now 70. "I told myself that he would fall in love with someone his [own] age. It didn’t happen."
The two kept in touch, but for a while Brigitte tried to keep some distance between them so as not to "wreck" the lives of her own children, who were close to Emmanuel's age.
"That lasted 10 years, the time to put them on the rails. You can imagine what they were hearing," she said. "But I didn’t want to miss out on my life."
The couple was ultimately married in 2007, with Emmanuel, now 45, going on to win the French presidency in 2017.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer.
As she told Paris Match, their relationship has only strengthened since — thanks in large part to her admiration of her husband's intellect.
“I have never seen such a memory ... such an intellectual capacity. I had many brilliant pupils, and none had his capability," Brigitte said. "I have always admired him.”
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.