French President Francois Hollande and actress Julie Gayet may have started their affair in 2011, before his May 2012 election, Closer magazine said yesterday, while Gayet separately denied reports she was pregnant.
Closer said Gayet, a mother of two children from her marriage to Argentinian script-writer Santiago Amigorena, may have met Hollande through Segolene Royal, his former partner and mother of his four children.
Gayet called Europe 1 radio to deny social media speculation that she was pregnant.
The affair has provided fodder for the French media, with a whirl of wild rumours. While polls have shown that a vast majority of French consider the matter private, there has been an insatiable appetite for any new developments in the affair.
The relationship became public after Closer magazine on January 10 ran a photo spread on the liaison between Hollande and Gayet, 41. The photos purportedly show Hollande wearing a helmet as he arrives on a scooter at an apartment around the corner from his office to meet with Gayet. Closer expects to have sold 600,000 copies of the magazine, double the weekly's average of 330,000.
Gayet announced on Thursday she was suing Closer and demanding €54,000 (HK$570,000) in damages and legal costs, Sylvie Guyomarch, a spokeswoman for magazine's publisher, said.
Closer's latest report, which did not cite sources, comes as Valerie Trierweiler, Hollande's companion and France's first lady, remains in hospital. Trierweiler, a journalist, was admitted to a Paris hospital after learning of the affair.
Hollande's press representatives were not reachable for comment yesterday on Closer's latest report.
Hollande, 59, said on January 14 that his relationship with Trierweiler, was "going through difficult moments" and asked that he be left to deal with the matter in private.
Hollande isn't married.He has been in a long-term relationship with Trierweiler.