The singer and former first lady of France made headlines in 1991 when Bruni — then known as an internationally famous supermodel — was named as the reason Trump was splitting from second wife Marla Maples. The rumor was further fanned after Trump reportedly confirmed the story to the press himself.
However, in a new interview with The Daily Beast, Bruni once again swats away the story as bogus.
“Actually, the whole situation was very vague and just did not exist,” she said. “So I was very surprised when he went to the press.”
Bruni, 49, found herself at the center of a media maelstrom after the New York Post ran a front-page headline declaring Trump’s relationship with Maples over because of her. PEOPLE reported on the split at the time, and when a reporter called his office a publicist named “John Miller” — who sounded an awful lot like Trump himself — confirmed everything in detail.
Then-PEOPLE reporter Sue Carswell interviewed “Miller,” later playing the tape for Maples. Maples identified the voice to Carswell as Trump’s.
In response, Trump told PEOPLE that Miller was a joke gone awry, explaining, “What I did became a good time at Marla’s expense, and I’m very sorry.”
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Bruni, meanwhile, told The Daily Beast she’s heard stories about Trump posing as his own PR man.
“Ah, I heard about that!” she says of the story. “There’s not much I can say. What I can say is that I think democracy is better than dictatorships, and democracy is about elections. So… we respect democracy.”
She also answered sternly when asked whether it bothers her that her alleged association with Trump is one of the first things that comes up in a Google search of her name.
“That’s because it was a lie,” she says sternly. “Maybe it’s American Google, because if it’s French Google, other things come up — mostly my man, my work, my younger pictures. But I’m glad there’s not much about my children. I’ve been able to protect them.”
Bruni has been married to Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France, since 2008. They share daughter Giulia, 5. Bruni also shares a 15-year-old son, Aurélien, with French philosopher Raphaël Enthoven.
France’s former first lady — who releases her latest album, French Touch, later this year — also subtly shaded another political wife during the interview: Melania Trump.
In 2008, shortly after she wed Sarkozy, a nude photo of Bruni taken by a French fashion photographer in 1993 was sold at auction and caused a mild tabloid frenzy. Last July, Melania found herself in a similar situation when nude photos appeared in the New York Post that were snapped during the time the Slovenian native worked as a model.
Bruni, however, says the circumstances aren’t quite the same.
“It was very different because I had quite a bit of fame from my modeling and my first album,” she said.
And don’t think Bruni was ashamed by that photo — because she’s not.
“I’m from France and Italy, so to me, making artistic naked pictures wasn’t a problem,” she said. “I was not ashamed at all. And the picture was from when I was 20 years old, before I had children, so I thought, ‘Well, I look good.’ ”
She adds, comparing her nude shots to Melania’s photos, “They were more artistic nudes made by great photographers.”