Sophie Gregoire: the woman behind Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau arrive at the Liberal leadership announcementSophie Gregoire-Trudeau — the wife of new Liberal leader Justin Trudeau — is someone Canadians are going to see a lot of in the next couple years.

On Sunday night, during his victory speech, Trudeau spent some time thanking her for her love and support:

Sophie, darling Sophie. Thank you very much. Thank you very much for your patience. Even when you were impatient with me. Thank you for your wisdom, even when you were frustrated with me. Thank you for being a great dance partner in all its different ways.

Thank you for having supported me. Thank you for having given me everything I needed during this campaign, and in the coming years.

Gregoire is not as well-known in the rest of Canada as she is in her native Quebec.

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In many ways, the 38 year old former model and television host is as compelling a 'character' as her husband Justin Trudeau.

Her professional career:

After earning a degree in communications, the Montreal-born Gregoire worked as a personal shopper, in advertising, sales and public relations before turning her attention to broadcast media.

In 2005, after a stint at radio and television school, she joined CTV's entertainment news magazine E-talk as a Quebec correspondent, covering Quebec-based celebrities and stories.

She's recently been certified has a yoga instructor and like her husband, is a professional public speaker. Gregoire speaks mostly on women's issues.

Her volunteer work:

Gregoire is an active volunteer with several charities and non-profit groups in Quebec.

According to Canadian Family, she has worked with The Shield of Athena, an organization that provides shelter for women and children fleeing violence, Girls for the Cure, and La Maison Bleu which works with at-risk pregnant women.

And, according to WomenontheFence.com, Gregoire also recently traveled to Africa with her mother-in-law Margaret Trudeau to build wells and bring water to remote regions.

Her battles with bulimia:

Gregoire has been open about her battles with bulimia as a teenager.

For the past decade, she's been speaking to young girls about eating disorders and, according to the Toronto Star, has made the issue one of 'her causes."

How she and Justin met:

We all love a good, how did you meet story.

Here's how Gregoire and Trudeau became a couple, in Gregoire's own words from an interview from WomenontheFence.com in 2011:

I’ve know Justin since I was a child. I went to school with his younger brother Michel, who died in the Avalanche. But Justin and I are four years apart- when you’re 12 and 16, it’s worlds away. I always thought he was handsome though.

Nine years ago, I saw him in the newspapers. I had this weird feeling, like I was meant to be with him and didn’t know why.

One year later, I co-hosted a charity function, and Justin was coincidentally my co-host. When we met again, I reminded him that I knew his brother, Michel. There was definitely a physical and emotional connection. We flirted. But I sent him an email then next day, and he never replied.

Three months later I bumped into him on the street. He apologized that he never wrote back. “Can I have your number?” he asked. ”No, I replied.” I wanted him to work a little! Well, he found my number and called me.

We then went for dinner and on our first date, our very first date, he looked into my eyes, and said, “I’ve been waiting for you 31 years. You’re going to be my wife. We’re going to have a family together.”

The wives of American presidents are invariably exposed to the media spotlight: First ladies — as they're referred to — Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan all became household names.

[ Related: Y! exclusive: Tory MP says Justin Trudeau ran on his celebrity status, hasn’t demonstrated substance ]

In Canada, our politicians' spouses are not as well-known

Like her mother-in-law — Margaret Trudeau — before her, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau might just be the exception.

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

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