Yohan Cabaye’s private life takes centre stage in court case

The wife of French international Yohan Cabaye has appeared in court for public defamation, claimed by the footballer’s new partner.

A man loved by two women: a story as old as time itself. But when you add this man’s notoriety and social media into the mix, which affords you less discretion (and elegance) than hand-delivered letters of yesteryear, the story suddenly becomes something else altogether.

It’s got to be said that what could have remained a simple indiscretion was dropped as a bombshell right in the middle of the Euros in 2016, when various celebrity publications announced the separation of Yohan Cabaye – called up to the 23-man squad by Didier Deschamps to go to the competition – and his wife.

This backdrop was recalled yesterday at a court in Aix, Southern France, where this (small) sport romance scandal has unfolded.

At the witness box, Fiona Cabaye was summoned to explain comments made on social media regarding the now-girlfriend of her husband (they in the process of divorce) during which the following extracts from social media were heard: “I’d rather be corpse-like and wrinkled than look like a “tanglier.”” (a pejorative neologism combining the words French words for tuna fish and wild boar) or even: “You are, and will always be, a slut.”

Comments which the ‘author’ comes back to: “This all needs consideration from the context of my family. Mrs Bernardini was my friend; she went off with my husband while I was pregnant with my third daughter. I had an impulsive reaction. She had made comments about me and my children’s education,” said Fiona Catalanotto, who assures that she is a “mother of three children and I try to raise them as best I as I can.”

Defending the interests of Yohan Cabaye’s new partner is Ms. Béatrice Dupuy and she started by reminding Judge Chavarot and the court that, given the effects of the affair being exposed and “bearing in mind her husband’s fame, the profile of these injurious comments was somewhat raised, replayed over and over in celebrity publications, even in sport ones.” Ms Depuy added that this is a demonstration as to why the comments are an “indication of verbal abuse and contempt.”

Ms. Depuy continued: “Mrs Cabaye says she has been insulted so she would have obviously got very upset but this excuse for such a provocation is not legally defensible. I have not been shown any proof that my client has posted insults which refer to Mrs Cabaye.”

She also clarifies that her client, at the time of the comments allegedly made about the future ex-wife Mrs Cabaye, was pregnant. The couple now live in England.

In this case, the Chief Prosecutor Rémy Avon left it up to the court to come to a decision, giving the floor then to Ms. Farouze Issad, in defence of Mrs Cabaye. Thus, this was an invitation to discuss again the context of the case, going back to 2014, with Yohan Cabaye at home with his family, while Mrs Cabaye was expecting her third child.

“Mrs Bernardini left with the husband of my client in 2014 and since, she hasn’t said anything, keeping in mind her three children and the professional career of Mr. Cabaye.” So that the case is discharged, the defence are asserting that “tonglier” does not constitute public defamation, since this word does not exist.

Then, the term “slut” was not attributed to any photo. In regard to the issue in which these comments are supposed to have caused emotional turmoil for Mr. Cabaye’s new partner, the lawyer refers to photo stills where she is seen with other players’ wives, in a stadium during the Euros: “She puts her private life in the public spotlight with Yohan Cabaye; she does this herself.” While, according to Ms. Issad, her client “has been insulted in Istres(…)she has been humiliated and simply wanted to defend her honour and that of her family.”

The court will make its verdict on the 24 April. The two parties have asked for damages and compensation.



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