Paris: French President Nicolas Sarkozy may take legal action against Irish airline Ryanair over an advert featuring him with his girlfriend, former model and singer Carla Bruni daydreaming about a wedding.
The advert, which ran in Le Parisien newspaper on Monday, features a photo of the smiling pair in an advertisement for cut-price tickets for “all occasions”.
“With Ryanair, all my family can come to my wedding,” says a thought bubble coming from Bruni’s head.
Beneath the photo, the airline offers 100,000 tickets for February and March for which it says customers only pay taxes and charges.
“It’s an abusive use of the president’s image, and so the president has given instruction to his counsel so that this case receives the necessary legal action,” said Franck Louvrier, a spokesman in Sarkozy’s office.
Commenting on the advert, a Ryanair spokeswoman in Dublin said: “It was a humorous comment on a matter of great public interest in France. We apologise sincerely for any offence caused.”
Sarkozy recently made the front pages of newspapers and celebrity magazines when he announced his relationship with the Italian-born Bruni whom he met just a few weeks after separating from his second wife, Cecilia.
Sarkozy hinted at a news conference earlier this month that he would marry Bruni and added the media would probably find out about it after the event.
A regional newspaper then reported that they had wed in private, prompting a fresh round of speculation.
However, in an interview published last week, Bruni said she had “not yet” married the French president but said they planned to do so.
Sarkozy’s decision to go public with the romance has been partly blamed for a slump in his popularity, with voters unhappy about his high profile private life when the economy is struggling.
However, the discovery of a fraud scandal and France’s largest bank Societe Generale, has grabbed the headlines back since it was first announced last Thursday.