A German newspaper quoted the father of Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday as saying the French president's wife, Carla Bruni, is expecting a child.
Sarkozy could enjoy a lift in the polls from a presidential birth when he faces re-election in 2012.
Below are some facts about Bruni:
AS FIRST LADY:
* Carla Bruni married Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008 following a whirlwind romance in the public eye after his election victory of 2007 and the collapse of his previous marriage to Cecilia Attias. Bruni once said she had never voted for the left despite spending lots of time with left-wing artist friends. She has said she finds politics hard going.
-- But she has appeared regularly at the conservative president's side in affectionate poses as he has sought to convey a softer image.
-- Last year she rejected accusations of influencing Sarkozy's political decisions, saying he was "not a yes-man." French media had been publishing anonymous comments from members of Sarkozy's center-right UMP party criticizing her for supposedly passing on her left-leaning views, and she retorted that she had no interest in politics.
* Bruni's porcelain skin, slender frame and feline gaze helped make her one of the world's most successful models in the 1990s. As her modeling career waned, she turned her hand to music as a singer-songwriter. She has three albums under her belt, and said last February she planned to make a cover version in her native Italian of one of France's most patriotic songs.
-- "Douce France" (Sweet France), written in 1943 by Charles Trenet as a tribute to the country's rural heartlands, quickly became an anthem for the French resistance against the German occupation during World War Two.
* In 2009 she strummed guitar alongside former Eurythmics musician Dave Stewart as they performed a duet at a concert in New York to commemorate Nelson Mandela's 91st birthday -- the first time she has sung in public since marrying Sarkozy.
-- She sang a slower version of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" while the French president smiled and clapped sitting in the audience.
* Bruni has been linked to a string of famous men, including British musicians Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger, U.S. property tycoon Donald Trump and former French Socialist prime minister Laurent Fabius.
-- She is also widely reported to have dated the French publisher Jean-Paul Enthoven before starting a relationship with his son, philosopher Raphael Enthoven, whom she married and with whom she has a son.
-- Bruni has not always been a fan of marriage. "I'm monogamous from time to time, but I prefer polygamy and polyandry," she told the Figaro Madame magazine in 2007, adding: "Love lasts a long time, but burning desire -- two or three weeks."
* Bruni was born, Carla Gilberta Bruni Tedeschi on December 23, 1967, in Turin to the Italian tire magnate and classical composer Alberto Bruni Tedeschi and the Italian concert pianist Marysa Borini. Her older sister is the Italian actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.
* Her family moved to France when she was a child to escape a wave of kidnappings and killings of right-wing politicians and businessmen by the left-wing Red Brigades.
(Writing by David Cutler; London Editorial Reference Unit)