WASHINGTON — The White House and the French embassy in Washington moved quickly Thursday to shoot down claims that Michelle Obama told her French counterpart Carla Bruni that life was “hell” as first lady.
The allegations were contained in the book “Carla et les Ambitieux” (“Carla and the Ambitious”), by two French authors who detail the life of Bruni, the ex-supermodel wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
According to the book, Bruni asked during a private conversation at the White House in March how Michelle Obama was enjoying life.
“Don’t ask, it’s hell, I can’t stand it,” the book’s authors claimed the American replied.
But the White House and the French embassy acted quickly to defuse controversy over the alleged remarks, saying Michelle Obama said nothing of the sort.
“The words attributed to the first lady of the United States were never said,” French embassy spokesman Emmanuel Lenain said, adding that “Mrs Sarkozy distances herself completely” from the content of the book.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs relayed the contents of Lenain’s statement on his Twitter feed and Michelle Obama’s office also weighed in.
“The first lady never said that,” said her spokeswoman Katie McCormick Lelyveld.
President Barack Obama and his wife hosted Sarkozy and Bruni at a private White House dinner after talks here in March, an event meant to scotch reports of tension between the two leaders.