A spokeswoman for Michelle Obama has disputed a claim by French first lady Carla Bruni that Mrs. Obama told her that being first lady of the United States is "hell."
Ms. Bruni told authors of a new biography that she asked Mrs. Obama how she was enjoying her new life as the wife of the president during a visit to the White House in March.
"Don't ask! It's hell. I can't stand it," she reported Mrs. Obama as saying, according to London's Daily Mail, which published an article about the book.
But on Thursday, the White House pushed back, calling the account untrue.
"The first lady never said that," spokeswoman Catherine McCormick-Lelyveld said.
Ms. Bruni is married to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
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