Sarkozy rumour: end of the affair? or a cruel hoax via Twitter?

Rumours spread online but Carla Bruni says she thinks marriage should be forever

An affaire d'état? Two affaires de tit for tat? Or just an affaire de twitter which proves to be tat?

The French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, said last night that she "trusted" her presidential husband "never" to have affairs. Good for her. And for him. But why is that news?

France is allegedly awash with rumours that both Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla are involved in liaisons dangereuses. France is, in truth, not awash with such rumours. The reports have spread, unverified, from Twitter to the blogosphere to some parts of the international press, without ever being given credence by the French mainstream media.

Are they true? According to one French magazine, L'Express, the rumour began as a hoax by a French trainee journalist. He wanted to see how easy it was to get an unverified assertion from the chat website Twitter on to random blogs and into the mainstream media. If so, he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. The Carla and Sarko "rumours" have appeared in newspapers in Britain and Italy and websites in the United States.

The L'Express report of a hoax cannot be verified either. No one has yet come forward to claim the credit for starting the rumour rolling. Readers of The Independent will have to make up their own minds. Or at least listen to Ms Bruni-Sarkozy. As a result of the rumours, Sky News last night brought forward the release of an interview with her which was recorded this week but was to have been broadcast later this month. She was not asked directly about the rumours. But she was asked whether she feared that he might have affairs.

"Do you trust him?" the interviewer, Anna Botting, asked. "Oh yes – very much," Ms Bruni-Sarkozy replied.

"I mean the rumours are that he had many affairs [during previous marriages] – but you trust him ... ?" "Oh yes – very much. He would never have affairs ... and have you ever seen a picture of him having an affair?"

Ms Botting went on: "I was just wondering if Nicolas Sarkozy is a keeper as we say in the UK, is he for keeps – is he forever?" Carla: (long pause):"I guess marriage should be forever but who knows what happens. I wish it was forever, that's my hope ... but we could be dead tomorrow."

Asked about being in the public eye – and the many rumours that swirl around about her – Ms Bruni-Sarkozy said: "I must say that maybe 99 per cent of things that people are saying are wrong ... .but it was always like that, even before my marriage ... Some people invent, I guess. I don't really care, I don't really pay attention to it, I must say."

The Elysée Palace last night refused to comment on the rumours.

President Sarkozy and Ms Bruni-Sarkozy, a top model turned pop singer, were married in February 2008 after a whirlwind romance following the collapse of the President's second marriage.

The President is to make a visit to Britain without Carla on Friday. Her absence has been interpreted as "further evidence" of a rift. However, the President is on a brief working visit – not a state visit like the two-day jamboree in the summer of 2008 when Carla's presence dominated coverage in the British media. It was never intended that Ms Bruni-Sarkozy would join him this week.

The rumours that both the Sarkozys were having affairs began on Twitter and spread from blog to blog in France in recent days. They appeared, somewhat dismissively, in a blog on the site of the Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, but have never appeared in print in France.

The news magazine L'Express said on its website last night that the rumours had been started by a "journalist intern" or trainee as an exercise to test the gullibility of the media. It said that the reports had been picked up by the blogs of "respected" web journalists but only as a "running gag". The blogs had, inadvertently, given credence to the rumours and allowed them to make the leap into Italian and British newspapers, which reported this week that "all of France" was chattering about the alleged affairs.

A modern media morality tale?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower