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'Really difficult time': What we know, what's being said after Trudeaus reveal split

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In a rare and personal revelation, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau revealed this week that the two have separated.

The international headline-grabbing news about the high-profile power couple has sparked a series of questions about what the split means for the Trudeaus, their children, and the Canadian political landscape.

It has also generated expressions of sympathy from across the political spectrum, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who told reporters on Thursday that he's reached out to his supply-and-confidence deal partner in the wake of the news.

Here's everything we know so far:

A SEPARATION, NOT DIVORCE

After what the pair described in identical Instagram posts as "many meaningful and difficult conversations" Trudeau and his wife have decided to separate after 20 years together, 18 of which they spent married.

His office followed up with the news that the pair have signed a "legal separation agreement" and made efforts in the process to ensure all proper ethical steps were taken.

In a further important distinction, a source with knowledge of the situation told CTV News that while the prime minister and Gregoire Trudeau have separated, it is not a divorce.

PLANS TO LIVE APART, CO-PARENT

As part of the separation plan, Gregoire Trudeau has moved out, and into a private residence close to Rideau Hall where the prime minister and his family have lived since he took office in 2015.

Gregoire Trudeau is covering the cost of her new place at her own expense. Though, questions remain about the degree of RCMP protection that may be provided to her going forward. Typically, the prime minister and his family have around the clock federal security.

While the two will live apart, Gregoire Trudeau still plans to spend considerable time at Rideau Cottage as the plan is for her and Trudeau to co-parent.

They've said their focus remains on "raising their kids in a safe, loving and collaborative environment," with the intention of both remaining "a constant presence in their children's lives."

GREGOIRE TRUDEAU NOT GOV'T REP

One key change is that going forward, Gregoire Trudeau will no longer be considered the spouse of the prime minister in any official capacity on the world stage, nor will she attend events as the spouse of the prime minister.

This means that while she never had—per Canadian custom— a title such as 'first lady' she will no longer attend events with Trudeau, won't partake in any official visits with the prime minister, nor should it be expected that she's seen on the campaign trail come the next election.

It's these kinds of public events, common for the spouses of a political leaders, that Gregoire Trudeau has participated less in, in recent years.

While Gregoire Trudeau would still have access to the household staff at Rideau Cottage when she's there, she's expected to continue her own personal career and charitable pursuits, without federal staff support.

PAIR REMAIN CLOSE, ASK FOR PRIVACY

Not to be forgotten in the considerable attention around the separation, are the prime minister and Gregoire Trudeau’s three children: Xavier who is 15, Ella-Grace who is 14, and Hadrien who is nine.

With their well-being in mind—and considerations for how his father Pierre Elliott Trudeau's marriage breakup impacted him as a child— the prime minister has asked Canadians to respect the family's privacy as they proceed under this new arrangement.

Canadians can still expect "to often see the family together," beginning next week when they plan to take a family vacation together.

WILL THIS IMPACT THE PM POLITICALLY?

CTV News’ official pollster Nik Nanos said Wednesday that Canadians will likely have "a certain level of empathy" for Trudeau, given many families go through similar hard times.

However, it remains to be seen what— if any—impact this news or future related developments may have on public opinion polling that currently shows the Liberals several points behind the federal Conservatives.

A source CTV News spoke with confirmed that the separation has not changed the prime minister's political plans, and Trudeau remains excited to continue his role leading Canadians into the next election.

NDP'S SINGH REACHES OUT

Asked about the news on Thursday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he has reached out to the prime minister, through his team, when he heard of the news.

"I want to say that this is hard for any family, any family that's gone through separation can recall the really difficult time that is, and of course, it's even more difficult if it's in the public eye. And, and it's important to acknowledge how that's going to impact the kids, and so I want to respect all those things, respect their ask for privacy and, I've reached out just to express my concern, or just my sympathy, for what's going on," Singh said.

The NDP leader acknowledged that being in the spotlight as a federal politician can be a challenge, while noting that many Canadians face having to balance work and family life, as well as the additional strains of factors such as keeping up with the rising cost of living.

"It's difficult, it's challenging. I understand how many families have gone through something so, so difficult and that to do it in the public limelight, like I said, is really, really hard, and it's hard for the kids, so I respect their request for privacy." 

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