When Charlotte Casiraghi ‘s name was first linked to Gad Elmaleh in January 2012 eyebrows were raised that one of Europe’s most dazzling young royals should have fallen for a little known actor 15 years her senior.
Rumours that Princess Caroline’s 27-year-old daughter is pregnant and engaged to Gad, with reports of an autumn wedding, have only added fuel to the fire.
If Monaco’s royal poster girl is indeed expecting and her fuller figure suggests she is, it will not be the first child for the Moroccan-born thesp. He has a son who is 12, named Noe, from a previous relationship.
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Charlotte and Gad at the Monaco Rose Ball in March this year
Yet the couple have chosen to ignore the naysayers. While not exactly shouting about their love from the rooftops, they’re happy to let it be known that they are together.
Gad, who started life as a stand up comic and who still revels in live performance, is often asked about his glamorous girlfriend.
The actor will answer as good naturedly as possible, trying to hide any exasperation he may be feeling about the fuss. In interviews he refers to her as “ma copine” (my girlfriend) or “ma cherie” rather than by name.
The couple only had eyes for each other
The obsession with their differences puzzles him. “[Monaco] is another world in form but not in substance, it is also the world of human relations and of amourrrr,” he told one journalist deliberately exaggerating the word with just a hint of irony the way we might say ‘lurve’.
In March when the 42-year-old was followed by a TV crew during his one man show in London Charlotte appeared in some scenes and was even pictured giving him a kiss.
“We share opinions, views because she has seen the show and she has lived in London,” he explained to the camera before launching into an imitation of an English accent together with her.
Charlotte’s mother has seen their rapport at first hand. She invited them aboard her yacht last summer and to the Rose Ball – one of the principality’s most prestigious occasions.
Witty, handsome and talented, Gad is a huge star in his native France
The Monegasque royals are a passionate family and the colourful love lives of the Princess and her siblings Albert and Stephanie have long made the headlines.
Her daughter’s new amour probably makes Caroline think back to what she felt for Charlotte’s father, handsome Italian businessman Stefano Casiraghi, who died tragically young, aged 30 in a speedboat accident.
Just as importantly, she appreciates that her daughter’s partner shares many of her interests.
Born to a Jewish mime artist in Casablanca, he speaks Arabic, Hebrew, English and French. As a student Gad, whose name means joy in Hebrew, spent for four years in Montreal studying political science and working on the comedy club scene.
Charlotte, a philosophy graduate, is a polyglot too, switching easily between English, French and Italian.
And let’s not forget that her grandmother was the legendary Grace Kelly. So showbusiness and the arts run through the veins of the reigning Grimaldi clan.
He has seduced – on screen at least – many of cinema’s leading ladies
In his native France there are few bigger stars than Gad, who has starred in movies with everyone from Gerard Depardieu to Sophie Marceau.
For the show in London’s Royal Albert Hall he was billed as the “Ben Stiller and Jerry Seinfield of French comedy”. Another comparison would be with David Walliams – Gad was named the ‘The Funniest Person in France’ in 2006.
Endlessly inventive, he is known for his skits, jumping about on stage with a guitar offering his observations on life. The charmer has also made inroads in Hollywood where he starred in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin.
To see him on screen is to love him. Witty, sophisticated, well travelled and wealthy thanks to his successful career, he may just be the perfect partner for Charlotte after all.