'Public had a right to know about Hollande's affair'
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has spoken out for the first time about the affair of her husband's successor as president of France, saying the French people had a right to know about a leader's private life when "public money" was involved.
Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy (46), pictured left, was asked to comment on revelations that President Francois Hollande was having secret trysts with an actress a stone's throw from the Elysee Palace.
Pictures of Mr Hollande being driven by a bodyguard to the flat disguised in a scooter helmet to meet Julie Gayet (41) led to his split with Valerie Trierweiler, then France's de facto first lady.
In an interview with the 'New York Post' ahead of a concert in the US city to promote her fourth album, Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy was asked about the "scandal" over Mr Hollande's "various lovers".
She replied: "In France, they're always ambivalent. They say, 'Oh, this is my private life'. But this is public money, right? So it can't be private.
"If the French magazine won't publish this kind of story, the Belgian one will, and it comes out everywhere."
When asked whether she drew secret pleasure to see a rival of her husband embroiled in such a scandal, she said: "Not really. Leading a country is not easy. The times are not easy. It's very funny, this transparency thing, where everyone can film you. As if everyone can be a spy."
Regarding her husband, who is considering a comeback in 2017, she praised his voice. "He would have been a brilliant actor," she said.
When asked whether it was hard visiting Britain in 2008 as first lady and finding a nude photograph of herself in the British tabloids, she replied: "That's England for you. The only consolation was, I was 24 in that picture. The nice part is that the day after, they were all complimenting me." (© Daily Telegraph, London)