Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Denies She Said Michelle Obama Called Life 'Hell' as First Lady


Lynn Sweet

The French Embassy in Washington is denying a report in a new book that French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy claimed Michelle Obama said her life was "hell" since her husband won the presidency.

Bruni-Sarkozy "distances herself completely from the content of the book 'Carla and the Ambitious,' which was not authorized and the authors alone are responsible for its contents. The words attributed to the First Lady of the United States were never said," Emmanuel Lenain, a spokesman for the embassy, said in a statement issued Thursday.

Mrs. Obama spokesman Catherine McCormick-Lelyveld told Politics Daily in a statement issued Thursday, "The First Lady never said that."

If Mrs. Obama's comment had been true, it would have plunged her into a controversy just as she is preparing to jump on the campaign trail.

Bruni-Sarkozy, a former model with a reputation for being outspoken, was quoted by authors Michael Darmon and Yves Derai -- who say their book was written "in collaboration with Miss Bruni," according to a report in London's Daily Mail, which called the book "wildly indiscreet."

The book claims the two women had the exchange last March, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Washington to meet with President Obama at the White House and brought along his wife. The two couples dined that night at the White House.

Bruni-Sarkozy allegedly asked Mrs. Obama what life was like for her since she became first lady, and the Daily Mail quotes Mrs. Obama's response in the book: "Don't ask. It's hell. I can't stand it."

Mrs. Obama has met her French counterpart at least four times: the March 2010 meeting; at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in September 2009; in Germany and in France in April and June 2009, respectively.