French President Nicolas Sarkozy says his relationship with model-turned-singer Carla Bruni is serious, and he suggested Tuesday that wedding plans are in the works.
"There is a strong chance that you will learn about it after it's already done," he said at a wide-ranging news conference.
The Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported this weekend that a wedding is expected for early February, prompting Sarkozy to joke: "It isn't the (newspaper) that will set the date."
Sarkozy's romance with Bruni reportedly started shortly after the French leader and his second wife, Cecilia Sarkozy, divorced three months ago.
‘It is serious’
Sarkozy and Bruni, an Italian-born former model with a successful folk music career, have since been photographed together in recent weeks in locations from Disneyland Paris to the pyramids in Egypt, often entwined arm-in-arm, looking happy.
"You've understood: it is serious," Sarkozy said when asked about their relationship.
Sarkozy said he wanted to break with a long tradition of French leaders keeping their love lives secret, with the media's tacit accord. He alluded to late former French President Francois Mitterrand, who kept the existence of a mistress and illegitimate daughter a secret for most of his 1981-1995 presidency.
Without mentioning Mitterrand's name, Sarkozy mentioned another president who took a trip to Egypt "in a presidential plane" with a second family.
"Everyone knew about it and nobody talked about it," Sarkozy said. "Carla and I have decided not to lie."
But he added: "I don't allow myself to judge (my predecessors), everyone must live as they see fit."