Maggie Trudeau is a perfect human being. I love her, I treasure her, I care about her, I worry about her, and I am frequently INCENSED on her behalf.
Q: Wait, Nicole, who is Maggie Trudeau?
A: Okay, well, you can read this story if you want the Official Narrative.
Basically, Maggie was the gorgeous young wife of Canada’s weirdly popular Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and now her son, Justin, is our new Prime Minister. Do I care for Justin? Not particularly, but I AM enjoying watching him troll the fuuuuuuck out of the country. Maggie, however, is better than all of these jokers.
Maggie was bipolar, which was undiagnosed for decades, and dealt with hamfistedly and fruitlessly and landed her in a padded cell. She was beautiful and fun and a hippie and loved rock concerts and partying, and the media egged her on and then made fun of her and splashed a picture of an accidental bush-flash all over the country.
Maggie wanted her own life, and being the 22 year old wife of a 51 year old Prime Minister didn’t set her up for success. Can you imagine being mentally ill and married to an old dude and being the center of the nation’s attention 24/7? It did not go great:
As she has noted, Mrs. Trudeau did not always deal with the pressure wisely. Before giving a speech, which became “a song of love” during a state dinner in Venezuela, Mrs. Trudeau ate peyote. “Even in my addled state, I could sense the acute embarrassment I had caused,” she later recalled. After a visit to the United States, Mrs. Trudeau became infatuated with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who she found to be more sympathetic than her husband.
And it didn’t get easier for Maggie! Her youngest, beloved son Michel was killed in an avalanche, and she sank into a deep depression, which did have the benefit of starting the process of getting real treatment for her mental health issues:
“I had to go into such deep, deep treatments to get my brain health back, to get my mental health back, after I was thrown to the ground,” she said. “But that was then. Now I think we can shorten the time between diagnoses and recovery.”
The hospital also led Mrs. Trudeau into what is an improbable career for someone who spent most of her life trying to escape public scrutiny. After being persuaded to speak at one of its fund-raising events, Mrs. Trudeau said that she found that she had a talent for it and now regularly holds talks about mental health throughout Canada. In the past they have included mother-son talks with Justin.
And in addition to her 2010 memoir, she published a self-help book for older women this year.
And throughout all of this, and her divorce, the media veered between being supportive and being cruel and getting up her ass.
When Pierre Trudeau died (they were still close), a grief-stricken Maggie stepped out of one of the memorial services to be met by Mike “Fuckhead Corrupt Assclown” Duffy, who stuck a camera in her face and said, basically “this must be so hard for you, especially since it’s also YOUR DEAD SON’S BIRTHDAY” at which point Maggie burst into tears and fell to the ground and I screamed and threw things in the privacy of my own home.
And now, in 2015, she has a pretty good thing going. She has an amazing platform for her advocacy, she and Justin are very close, and some of Canada’s media figures regret making her life hell and are apologizing for it:
She was guileless, and we were predatory. Our stories were full of snide references to the “flower girl” our Jesuitical prime minister had brought home.
We behaved like Hollywood paparazzi. When she ran off to party with the Rolling Stones (who of us wouldn’t have if we’d had the chance?) we became night crawlers.
We hounded her. We would call every big hotel in Toronto, trying to imagine pseudonyms she might be using, using pseudonyms ourselves.
She landed a role in a film, Kings and Desperate Men. It was never released. We grinned.
She turned up dancing at Studio 54 (a place we’d never have been allowed near, let alone inside). We sneered.
She decided to become a photographer. We snarked. King Hussein of Jordan presented her with a full collection of Nikon equipment. We demanded to know if she’d paid tax on it.
I literally cried when I read that story. I fist-pounded the air. It was so freeing to hear someone take responsibility for what they did to Maggie Trudeau, even decades late.
Maggie is an honorary Toastie. She’s smart and strong and resilient and brave and I hope her life gets better every second until it’s over. Please put as many perfect photos of her as you want in the comments.
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.