Sophie Trudeau says she ‘never perceived’ Justin as ‘a prime minister’

‘Because I never perceived my partner as a prime minister, I never perceived my marriage as a political marriage’

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Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, Canada’s former unofficial first lady, has the same thoughts as many Canadians right now, telling Newsweek in a new interview that she never thought of her estranged husband, Justin, as “a prime minister.”

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Last summer, the Canadian couple ended their 18-year marriage and Gregoire Trudeau is now lifting the lid on their split as she hits the publicity trail to promote her new self-help book, Closer Together, Knowing Ourselves, Loving Each Other.

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I wrote this book so that people can know themselves better, love themselves better so that we can give us the maximum tools and opportunities to face the crises that we’re facing,” Gregoire Trudeau tells Newsweek.

Following the couple’s 2005 marriage, Gregoire Trudeau said she didn’t aspire to have a profile that would land her notoriety on a world stage.

“Because I never perceived my partner as a prime minister, I never perceived my marriage as a political marriage or our relationship for that matter,” she tells the publication.

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We were kind of just in the middle of what it means to be out there and scrutinized by the world.”

Gregoire Trudeau, 49, is plotting two books focusing on her mental health journey. Part of the description for Closer Together on her publisher’s website reads, “Sophie Gregoire Trudeau invites readers on a deeply personal journey toward self-knowledge, acceptance, and empowerment, drawing on the expertise of top psychologists, psychiatrists, scientists, and thought leaders.”

It was written before the two called it quits. But, of course, Gregoire Trudeau is facing questions about the dissolution of her marriage to the Liberal leader, whom she married in 2005 and shares three children with.

Gregoire Trudeau tells Newsweek she wasn’t going to “reinvent myself” as Trudeau’s political ambitions started to form after they wed.

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“I always look for that sense of integrity inside of me. Is it the right thing to do? And is it what I do in life?” Gregoire Trudeau says. “I won’t reinvent myself because I’m now a partner of somebody or people see me in this kind of new position, nonofficial first lady, or whatever. So, I always tried to never believe in a role or a title but stay true to course and remember that’s how I need to serve in a way.”

Justin and Sophie
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his former wife Sophie Trudeau in 2017. Photo by Getty Images

As she promotes the book, Gregoire Trudeau says she wishes she didn’t have to keep rehashing their split, but said the ending of her marriage “is a very small portion of my life.”

“Of course, I wish I didn’t have to share the state of my relationship with the world,” she says. “It is my life, but it is a very small portion of my life. I don’t live my life with the cameras on. I’m at home with the kids. We’re running around, we’re booking appointments. So I don’t bring my mind there. But that being said, I now understand that being on a co-political path, and your partner does that, it implies a lot of changes in one’s life that you don’t expect. And you have to constantly adapt.”

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In an interview with the Montreal Gazette last month, Gregoire Trudeau said she hopes the Closer Together “encourages people to look deeper inside themselves.”

“It’s my content and my story. When you show emotional vulnerability, it’s a sign of strength, and I hope it encourages people to look deeper inside themselves to find peace and balance in their own lives, because so many people are suffering right now,” she said. 

As for the breakup, Gregoire Trudeau isn’t delving into too many details and is instead moving forward in her new reality as she co-parents with her embattled ex, who is being battered in the polls.

“Is it my fault? Is it his fault? There’s a lot of blaming, when what we’re all trying in our relationships and our connections is to heal ourselves or validate our emotions,” she said in an interview with Vogue.

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In a separate cover story with Elle Canada, Gregoire Trudeau said the split wasn’t nearly as bad as she thought it could be.

“I imagined the worst-case scenario, I’ll tell you that,” she told the magazine. “I had to. I didn’t want to be naive. But I also had to protect myself.”

Looking back on their separation, there’s one word she uses to describe their breakup and their new reality going forward (Gregoire is rumoured to have “re-partnered” with a former beau).

“Hard,” she said. “(I had to) face the truth (and) choose authenticity over attachment. I’m a family woman — family is everything to me (because) I’m an only child, so the thought of breaking that mould or transforming that mould … Even the words we use to describe relationships — it’s either success (and you) stay together or failure (and you) go on different paths. We really need to develop a new vocabulary for human beings as we transform on our own paths.”

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