Tony Blair told the Leveson Inquiry that some journalists had waged a “personal vendetta” against his wife Cherie.
He said some comment was "legitimate" but at times criticism was taken "too far".
The former prime minister said Mrs Blair - a barrister - had taken or considered legal action about media reports more than 30 times in five years.
"I think a certain amount of comment is perfectly legitimate," Mr Blair said.
"I think some of the papers, particularly the Mail group, took it too far and it turned into a personal vendetta."
He said checks with Mrs Blair's solicitors showed that legal action had been taken or considered more than 30 times between 2006 and 2011.
"I thought and do think that the attacks on her and my children were unnecessary and wrong," Mr Blair said.
"I just don't think it is part of the political debate."
He added: "What I think is wrong is where sections of the media - and again I emphasise it is sections - where powerful people say, 'right we are going to go for that person'.
"And then what happens is they go for you. And, as I say, it's full-on, full frontal.
"That's not journalism. In my view it's an abuse of power. It's not necessary to do it.
"I feel that some of the stuff crossed the line."