PARIS • Mr Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist who is favourite to win the French presidential election, has dismissed rumours he has a gay relationship outside his marriage.
In comments on Monday, tweeted by his spokesman, Mr Macron brushed off rumours he was in a relationship with Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gallet.
Talk of an affair has circulated for years and was recently picked up by Russian media.
"If you're told I lead a double life with Mr Gallet, it's because my hologram has escaped," Mr Macron told supporters at a rally.
It appeared he was referring to a hologram presentation by a rival presidential candidate, Mr Jean-Luc Melenchon, last weekend.
"I am what I am. I've never had anything to hide," he said.
The 39-year-old independent is married to his high school teacher Brigitte Trogneux, who is 24 years older than him - an unconventional relationship often featured in the country's celebrity and lifestyle magazines.
The spokesman described Mr Macron's comments as "a clear denial of the rumours about his private life".
"Brigitte is asking herself how I could physically do that. She shares my life from morning to night, and I never paid her," Mr Macron said, according to a tweet by a reporter at the event.
The reference to payment appeared to be a dig at another opponent, Mr Francois Fillon, whose campaign has been hit by allegations his wife was paid for work she did not do. It is the impact of that scandal which has put Mr Macron in pole position to win the election this spring.
The French media is traditionally wary of reporting about the private lives of public figures, but yesterday, Le Parisien newspaper carried a story about Mr Macron's rebuttal.
He is seen beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round of the French presidential election run-off, with Mr Macron's score edging up, an Opinionway poll said yesterday.
Opinionway's daily poll of voting intentions said Ms Le Pen would get the biggest score in round one of the election, obtaining 25 per cent of votes, compared to 23 per cent for Mr Macron.
Mr Fillon would get 20 per cent, but would be eliminated after the first round. In the second round, Mr Macron is seen winning with 66 per cent - up slightly from his score in Opinionway's poll on Monday, which had shown him getting 65 per cent of votes.
France's two-round presidential election is scheduled for April 23 and May 7.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG