'We've had hardship': Trudeau's reflections on marriage over the years

'We've had hardship': Trudeau's reflections on marriage over the years

August 3, 2023

Are these the signs Justin Trudeau’s marriage was on the rocks? From an awkward TV kiss with wife Sophie to discussing their marital ‘ups and downs’ – the hints that not all was well with couple as they split after 18 years

  • Prime Minister Trudeau announced the separation on Instagram yesterday 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday announced the shock separation from his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, after 18 years of marriage.

The reasons for the split were not clear, but the pair said it came after ‘many difficult conversations’.

Their three children will continue living with the Prime Minister at Rideau Cottage while Sophie has moved to another home in Ottawa.

Over the years, the couple have shared candid reflections on the ‘challenges’ of marriage and difficulties balancing family with the demands of the top job.

Trudeau announced the couple’s separation today in an Instagram statement 

Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau in a photo shared by Sophie to mark their anniversary. The pair announced their separation today after 18 years of marriage 

After the announcement on Wednesday, a video went viral on social media appearing to show an awkward exchange between the Prime Minister and his wife.

The video shows the two kissing in front of a camera, sharing a Canada Day message from the Ottawa Food Bank Farm in 2020.

The pair look at each other and Justin leans in for a kiss, whispering something to his wife.

She kisses him back, but quickly turns and looks at something off camera.

Justin also steps back, looking around and opening his stance before the clip cuts.

In another moment in front of cameras, Sophie was seen brushing off her husband’s offered hand while getting her Covid jab.

The two were filmed together in April 2021 receiving their first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Ottawa.

As Sophie’s arm was prepared for the injection, her husband offered a hand in support.

Sophie turned, with the hand on her leg, and smiled – but waved her hand dismissively.

The Prime Minister retracted his hand and looked at the camera with open palms.

In the past, the couple were forthcoming with their posts on Instagram, sharing tender reflections on the challenges of long-term relationships.

In a September 2020 post on Instagram, Sophie wrote: ‘Our first date was 17 years ago… we are not that young anymore, but what an adventure it’s been. 

‘Through all the ups and the downs, you’re still my person. I love you. 

‘#TBT to a quiet moment we shared somewhere along the way.’ 

The pair have been married since 2005 and share three children, the youngest of whom is nine.

Sophie was a childhood friend and classmate of Justin’s older brother Michel, who died in an avalanche in 1998 aged 23.

Justin and Sophie began dating in 2003 after reconnecting as adults and were engaged a short time afterwards.

Looking back on their time together, in May last year Sophie posted photos of the pair as children. 

‘We kind of look alike, don’t we?’ she wrote.

‘Together for 19 years, married for 17, we have navigated through sunny days, heavy storms, and everything in between and it ain’t over,’ the retired television host said.

‘You all know I keep things honest: long-term relationships are challenging in so many ways. 

‘They demand constant work, flexibility, compromise, sacrifice, devotion, patience, effort, and so much more. 

‘None of us are perfect and so there is no perfect relationship, but love is only true when it keeps you safe, sets you free, and makes you grow. Omnia Vincit Amor.’

Love conquers all, the Latin says. 

Sophie uploaded a reflective post to Instagram in May last year on the challenges of love

Justin Trudeau waits with his wife Sophie, son Hadrien and daughter Ella-Grace to cast his ballot in Montreal on October 19, 2015

In his 2014 autobiography, Common Ground, the Prime Minister opened up about some of the challenges of balancing family responsibilities with the top job.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau is ‘risking his family man image’ with split from wife and rumours will now ‘spread like wildfire’: Canadian newspapers have their say after PM and his wife separate 

He wrote: ‘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.’

In an interview with CBC later that year, interviewer Evan Solomon asked if this was ‘coded language for extramarital affairs’, to which Trudeau responded: ‘no’. 

He clarified that he was referring to the ‘kinds of challenges that any real marriage goes through.’

‘Tremendous ups and downs, but as I say we are deeply in love and committed to each other and we continue to be,’ he said.

Justin admitted there were times his wife ‘hates’ his job.

‘I have a very difficult, high-pressured job. Everyone knows how challenging it is to balance family responsibilities with a job that takes me across the country and working extremely hard.

‘There are times when she hates my job and she hates me for loving my job.

‘There are times, there are times when she understands how much of an opportunity and a responsibility it is for us to actually serve this country that has given us so much.’

Trudeau has been Prime Minister of Canada since 2015 and an MP since 2008.

As Sophie told Vogue in 2015 her new duty was ‘to really stay grounded’, her husband said: ‘We’re more partners than my mother and father were ever able to be.’

Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie welcome President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden into their home in March. They are shown with their children Ella-Grace, 14, Xavier, 15, and Hadrien, nine

Sophie shared a picture of the couple together in their youth back in September 2020

A year after Common Ground, Sophie had her own say on the trials and tribulations of marriage in an interview with Global News.

‘I can tell you right away that no marriage is easy,’ she said.

‘I’m almost kind of proud of the fact that we’ve had hardship, yes, because we want authenticity. We want truth. 

‘We want to grow closer as individuals through our lifetime and we’re both dreamers and we want to be together for as long as we can.’

And then, last year, she spoke about the desire to break away from traditional feminine domestic roles while on Meghan Markle’s podcast.

Sophie had a ‘full plate,’ while being a parent and a spouse in the public eye after being married to Justin for 18 years, Markle claimed in the podcast.

The Canadian First Lady also knew about the ‘crushing the guilt of expectations’ set upon mothers and women in general, the Duchess of Sussex said in her introduction.

Grégoire Trudeau agreed and said about the guilt of being a woman and having to take on multiple roles: ‘I think we’ve learned to self-impose it.

‘A little girl is not born feeling guilty for being a girl.

‘We learn it. And that’s completely unacceptable. When I started becoming an older girl in an early adult stage, I realized that we often define ‘freedom’ as a way to be free from the world, but it’s really a way to be free in the world.’

Sophie Trudeau and Meghan Markle in previously-shared social media photos 

She added: ‘Women across this planet are still the nucleus of the family, they still carry most of the load for housework, contributing to the family’s well-being and most decisions concerning the kids.

‘But I think we’re all that lioness, we all have that inside of us, and we all long to be free in who we are.’

During the roughly hour-long podcast, Sophie never indicated any marital strife. 

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