'I haven't seen Carla in two years': accused singer
A rock singer accused in newspaper reports of having an affair with French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy insisted Wednesday that he had not even seen her in two years.
Benjamin Biolay has always fiercely denied the widely reported rumour of a relationship with the 42-year-old former supermodel, and has successfully sued a television network for breaching his right to privacy.
"Just to make this clear: I have not seen Carla Bruni for two years," he told the weekly news magazine Paris Match, in his first interview since the longstanding gossip exploded on to Europe's front pages.
"We worked together on her last record and, since then, I haven't had a drink with her, I haven't had dinner with her," he said, adding that the first lady had called him once to apologise for the spread of the rumour.
Bruni-Sarkozy married President Nicolas Sarkozy in February 2008.
In March, unsourced Twitter and blog postings referring to long-running rumours about their personal lives were picked up and published by newspapers outside France.
Everyone named in the rumours firmly denied there had been any affairs, and no evidence has ever surfaced to support the reports.
"The more the rumour grew the more oppressive it got," said Biolay, a 37-year-old singer songwriter who has enjoyed chart success in his own right and worked with other artists, including Bruni-Sarkozy.
"I found myself on the front page of the British press as the lover of the first lady. It was hard for me, for my daughter and for the woman I love," he added, referring to his own family.
© 2010 AFP