The Stunning Transformation Of Sophie Grégoire Trudeau

The following article includes mentions of eating disorders.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau went from being a Franco-Canadian girl next door to the internationally famous wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. She's rubbed shoulders with the Obamas and British royals and taken selfies with Meghan Markle. A multifaceted queen of reinvention, she's equally comfortable joking around on Instagram as she is seriously advocating for eating disorder awareness and prevention. Politico called her a "vivacious, new-age yogi and longtime mental health champion" — a far cry from the typical political spouse.

And there's more reinvention in store for Grégoire Trudeau: She and her husband announced they are legally separating on August 2, 2023. The Trudeaus have been dogged by cheating rumors, and it's unclear whether they'll eventually divorce. Their Instagram statement noted that they "remain a close family with deep love and respect for each other and for everything we have built and will continue to build."

Here's how Grégoire Trudeau's public image has evolved over the years, from her middle-class upbringing to the recent breakup announcement that shocked the world. As some expect this former newscaster and personal shopper to reenter the workforce amid the separation, what's next for Grégoire Trudeau is anyone's guess.

Sophie Grégoire had a typical middle-class upbringing in Montréal

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was an only child with a happy upbringing. Her father was a stockbroker and her mother was a nurse. The family started out in Sainte-Adèle, Quebec, and later moved to Montréal. "I literally lived in nature 'til I was 4, living way north of the city," she told Erica Diamond. "My parents instilled in me a love and connection to nature that I still feel very connected to today."

Only child Grégoire Trudeau told Diamond she "was both a social creature, who made friends easily, but also enjoyed the solitude." Always well-rounded, she says she was "a good student" who also loved playing sports and being outside. She also studied flute and guitar in school.

Despite her idyllic upbringing, Grégoire Trudeau developed bulimia in her teens. "I was happy and thriving in some areas of my life as a young adult but I was struggling deeply with an eating disorder," she once wrote in an Instagram post. "No one had shown me how to sit with the pain I was dealing with." Grégoire Trudeau would later become an advocate for those dealing with eating disorders.

She and Justin Trudeau knew each other since childhood

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and Justin Trudeau met through his younger brother, Michel, who was her classmate, she told Erica Diamond. "I always thought he was handsome," she said, but she lost track of him until she got older and saw Trudeau, whose father was a former Canadian prime minister and whose mother was a socialite, in the news. She told her mom she wanted to date him. Her mom laughed it off.

"One year later, I co-hosted a charity function, and Justin was coincidentally my co-host," Grégoire Trudeau told Diamond. "When we met again, I reminded him that I knew his brother, Michel. There was definitely a physical and emotional connection. We flirted." But Trudeau dodged an email from her and they didn't reconnect again until bumping into each other in the street.

After they took turns playing hard to get, they finally went on a date, and Grégoire Trudeau recalls her then-future-husband saying, "I've been waiting for you 31 years. You're going to be my wife. We're going to have a family together." Trudeau backed up the romantic story in a 2022 Instagram post, writing that he knew from their first date that they'd be together.

She cultivated a young, flirty image and a thriving broadcast career before Trudeau entered politics

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau started studying commerce at Montréal's McGill University in an effort to emulate her father, she told Erica Diamond, but soon changed her major to communications. She dabbled in advertising before realizing radio and television school might be right for her. "I had always felt my communication skills were my best asset," she told Diamond. "The moment I stepped foot into school, I knew I was home. I felt most like myself. I had found my calling." She climbed the ranks from writing the ticker to entertainment reporter.

The adventures didn't stop at work. Grégoire Trudeau was always excited about love. She told Diamond of her adolescence, "I had an equally crazy love for boys. I was comfortable hanging out with the boys, just as much as the girls. I was mischievous, but a good mischievous — almost good trouble, not bad trouble."

Justin Trudeau was taken with the successful and fun Grégoire Trudeau. He sang her praises in a Maclean's interview before their wedding. "First of all, you've seen the pictures," he said. "She's absolutely gorgeous. But there's this sweetness to her and a realness, with this edge of an intelligence that is very, very strong and anchored in some values that are unassailable." Still, some red flags would pop up in their marriage later on.

She quickly shot to fame in 2005 when she married 'quintessentially Canadian prince' Trudeau

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was sometimes recognized by fans due to her TV work, she told Maclean's, but dating "quintessentially Canadian prince" Justin Trudeau boosted her notoriety to another level. "Wherever we go," she said, "in a restaurant or on the street or on a ski hill or even traveling, people come up to see us and they're just so friendly."

Their wedding took things up yet another notch, catapulting her into the upper echelon of Canadian society. Former politicians and sons of prime ministers attended the Montréal wedding. Despite a rainy forecast, the sun came out, and Grégoire Trudeau kept her trademark exuberance intact even on her wedding day. She yelled at the crowds, "I'm the luckiest woman in the world" (via CBC).

Despite Grégoire Trudeau's optimism, Trudeau's mother, Margaret Trudeau, took care to prepare her new daughter-in-law for the darker side of fame. "I have tried to prepare Sophie for, how can I put it, the pain and hurt the media may cause her," she told Maclean's. "I'm telling her that I'll be there because I've been there, I've been through it myself."

As wife of the Canadian prime minister, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau was slammed for being overly glam

Before their wedding, Justin Trudeau told Maclean's that he was ambivalent about entering the world of politics, and a decision on the matter would be "a good ways off." Sophie Grégoire Trudeau said at the time, "I have total faith that I will be able to handle it and adapt."

It only took three years for the couple to take the plunge. Trudeau became a member of the Parliament of Canada in 2008. He was reelected in 2011 and became leader of the Liberal Party in 2013. Then, in 2015, when the Liberal Party won control of the House of Commons, he became prime minister, a position he holds to this day.

Canadians don't use the term "first lady," but the prime minister's wife is still heavily scrutinized. Grégoire Trudeau came under fire for her wardrobe at least twice — once when she borrowed a $5,700 Oscar de la Renta dress for a Vogue shoot, and again when the Trudeau family was accused of looking "too flashy" in India, per Outlook. On top of that, some taxpayers were also miffed that they had to pick up the bill for the Trudeau children's nannies. At one point, she told Le Soleil she was struggling: "I need help. I need a team to help me serve the people" (via The Independent).

When it comes to being a mom, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau insists she's down to earth

Kids were part of the plan since Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau's first date. They also discussed their plans with Maclean's before their wedding, with Justin Trudeau saying: "I want at least three. ... Sophie was an only child so she says one is just fine, two is good, too, but three, you're starting to push it a little bit."

It seems Trudeau got his way. The couple welcomed children Xavier James in 2007, Ella-Grace Margaret in 2009, and Hadrien in 2014. Grégoire Trudeau told Erica Diamond about the deep impact motherhood had on her. "I literally had an out-of-body experience while breastfeeding," she said. "That we have a responsibility to save every child and save each other. It made me feel closer to everybody on this planet."

In an interview with Sorry Girls, Grégoire Trudeau insisted she's just like any other mom. Reflecting on their historic home, Rideau Cottage, she said, "Sometimes when people say 'it's so unique' — yes, of course — but we're just a family, and we're just trying to live our lives." She added that she prioritizes "a sense of safety" in her spaces. Now, she's going out of her way to show she's committed to her children even amid her separation from their father.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau used her position to become an outspoken eating disorder advocate

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has been open about her past with bulimia for years. In 2011, before her husband Justin Trudeau had become prime minister, she was already carving out a space for herself in the eating disorder advocacy arena. "In my teen years, I suffered with bulimia, an eating disorder, and mental illness," she told Erica Diamond in an interview. "I was very conscious of it. I read about bulimia, and I knew I was suffering from it."

She credits her recovery to mentors and "difficult conversations with family and friends," according to a news release from Scotiabank, and she frequently urges people to talk about their eating disorders as a first step to getting better. "Every individual suffering from an eating disorder is different," she said in the release, "and a multidisciplinary, therapeutic approach is essential for full recovery."

She also speaks about broader gender-related issues, urging followers and fans to speak out even when it's uncomfortable. "I'm calling on you to stand up for what's right, to call out sexist jokes, and to condemn violence whenever and wherever you encounter it," she wrote on Instagram along with a photo of herself and her daughter. "Women, girls, men, boys, and gender-diverse people must face this challenge together."

The public learned even more about her when she and Trudeau confidently talked about couples therapy 

While Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has always been open and vulnerable in interviews, this quality has proven transformative in her position as the prime minister's wife. Grégoire Trudeau seemed determined to share her true self from the beginning of her husband's political career. While some political spouses try to shrink into the background, Grégoire Trudeau prefers to be an open book — even when it comes to sharing details of couples therapy with the public.

Shortly after Justin Trudeau was sworn into Canada's top governmental job, the couple posed for Vogue staring steamily into each other's eyes. The photo rendered them a "political punchline," according to Chatelaine. It turns out this wasn't just a pose for fashion's sake, but a serious exercise they learned in couple's therapy, Grégoire Trudeau told The Globe and Mail.

This might have been the first time a Canadian prime minister's marriage therapy was up for discussion, especially so soon after being sworn in. But on closer inspection, the couple has always been open about their cheesy tendencies. After Trudeau confessed to Grégoire Trudeau that he wanted to marry her and start a family on their first date ever, he told Maclean's, "We both burst into tears because we're both such big sensitive souls. Big tender hearts."

She showed a whole new side of herself when she went viral for singing an original song a cappella at a memorial for Martin Luther King Jr.

The Canadian public had become acquainted with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau's quirky side during Justin Trudeau's early days as prime minister thanks to the couple's Vogue shoot. Soon after, in 2016, Grégoire Trudeau went viral worldwide for breaking into an impromptu song during a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. in Ottawa.

"I'm going to sing you a song that I wrote for my daughter Ella Grace, at a moment where I was going through a difficult time," she says in the video from CBC, adding that the performance was "not planned — trust me."

People couldn't help but notice that the song had little to do with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. — not to mention, Grégoire Trudeau was no Celine Dion. The Toronto Star opined that she'd hit "new highs and lows" with the a cappella performance, while a writer from Vice called the song "weird," adding that they were "offended" and confused by the tribute.

In May 2022, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau cracked jokes on Instagram about her anniversary

As Sophie Grégoire Trudeau continued her unofficial career as a political wife, the viral furor around her died down and things seemed placid between Grégoire Trudeau and her husband, Justin Trudeau.

In 2022, the pair celebrated 17 years of marriage. Grégoire Trudeau posted baby photos of the couple and mused over how similar their blond curls and chubby cheeks appeared in the pics. "We kind of look alike, don't we?" she wrote on Instagram. She continued, "You all know I keep things honest: long-term relationships are challenging in so many ways. ... None of us are perfect and so there is no perfect relationship, but love is only true when it keeps you safe, sets you free, and makes you grow."

Some thought those lines in her Instagram caption seemed ominous. And just over a year later, her Instagram account hinted at even more trouble in paradise for the Trudeaus.

The next year's anniversary brought great news for Sophie's public profile: a book deal

Before the couple's bombshell separation announcement, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau shared great news — she had a book deal with Penguin Random House Canada. She'd publish the first, "Closer Together: Knowing Ourselves, Loving Each Other," in spring 2024. A picture book was to follow in 2025.

Grégoire Trudeau planned to continue her mental health advocacy with the release of "Closer Together," complete with interviews with experts on "why we think, feel, and act the way we do as human beings," she told Instagram followers.

The book deal marked a big moment for Grégoire Trudeau — not to mention an opportunity to differentiate herself from her husband. In fact, Trudeau himself didn't post about his wife's big literary break at all. Instead, he was busy with official visits to South Korea and Japan, per his Instagram posts. This was par for the course as Grégoire Trudeau had attended fewer and fewer state events with her husband in recent years, The Guardian reported.

Just a few months later, the Trudeaus announced they'd be separating

Soon after Sophie Grégoire Trudeau's book announcement, relationship red flags and hints of trouble gave way to a bona fide breakup announcement. The announcement came through the couple's individual Instagram accounts, captioned in both English and French. The couple decided to separate after "many meaningful and difficult conversations," their Instagram announcement read. The statement insisted the couple would "remain a close family" — even as Trudeau's political party deleted Grégoire Trudeau from its website, according to Politico.

Some were blindsided by the split: Justin Trudeau had only just posted an Instagram tribute to his wife on May 28, 2023, writing, "Every mile of this journey together is an adventure. I love you, Soph. Happy anniversary!" Less than three months later, the couple was now calling it quits.

Grégoire Trudeau is now adapting to yet another transformative role: co-parenting with Trudeau. The couple embarked on a vacation with their kids in British Columbia only days after their separation became public.

Now, all eyes are on Sophie Grégoire Trudeau as many expect her to become a highly paid multi-hyphenate

When Sophie Grégoire Trudeau ushers her children back to school, she'll be beginning a new chapter of her own life, as well. And she could make a mint. Without the ethical constraints of her husband's political career, it's possible she could snap up publishing and entertainment deals á la her acquaintance, Meghan Markle.

Commentators speculate that her post-separation goal will be to "get paid," per Politico. After quitting her broadcast career when her husband got into politics, Grégoire Trudeau mostly volunteered while picking up some cash from speaking gigs. But now that she'll no longer be beholden to political propriety, Grégoire Trudeau will be free to make more lucrative deals.

What will those deals be? Her list of goals is as eclectic as Grégoire Trudeau herself. She told Erica Diamond that she'd written down her goals on a piece of paper, and found many of them — from recording a musical album to traveling — relevant 10 years later. Her approach, though, has changed. "I still have dreams, but instead of having them written on a little piece of paper, I live a little bit of them every day," she said. "I don't expect something huge to happen every day. I have found true peace and joy in everyday life because I do what I feel in the moment, not what is stuck on that vision board."

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who does, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).