French President Nicolas Sarkozy secretly wed singer and ex-model Carla Bruni in a ceremony at the Elysee Palace last week, sources reported Monday.
A source close to a witness at the wedding reportedly told the French newspaper L'Est Republicain that the pair married in on Thursday at the palace. Sarkozy's communications director Franck Louvrier gave the paper an official no comment when asked about the reported nuptials.
English and Italian media were quick to pick up on the story with both the Daily Mail and La Stampa in Bruni's hometown of Turin reporting on the marriage.
"It was a low-key ceremony," the source said according to the Daily Mail. "Both the President and his new wife looked extremely happy."
Bruni and Sarkozy have dominated front pages in recent weeks. The president, divorced less than three months ago from his second wife Cecilia, hinted last week that he planned to marry Bruni after delivering his New Year's speech on Jan. 8.
"There's a good chance you'll find out about it when it's already happened," he said, according to reports.
Sarkozy, nicknamed the "bling-bling president" by the media, reportedly gave Bruni a pink heart-shaped diamond Dior engagement ring, while she offered him a Swiss-made Patek Philippe watch.
But when asked by Reuters about the secret marriage, Bruni's mother didn't have much to say.
"I don't know, I am not aware of anything," Marisa Bruni, Carla's mother, told Reuters Monday. "I have just seen Carla and she didn't mention anything."
But, she added, "it could be, anything is possible. Maybe they got married without inviting anyone, but I think that if that was the case the Elysee would have made an announcement."
Star-watchers said last week that anything would be possible for a Sarkozy-Bruni nuptial.
"Initially we imagined a royal celebration like Prince Rainier (of Monaco) and Grace Kelly had" in 1956, said Loic Sellin, editor of the popular magazine Voici. "Now we're imagining something discreet. Although, actually, who knows? ... He's capable of throwing a wedding at Versailles and inviting his friends."
The wedding would be the first for Bruni, an Italian-born heiress to a tire company who had a major modeling career and the love life to go with it. Bruni, now a singer, dated rockers Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, tycoon Donald Trump and actor Vincent Perez. She has a young son, Aurelien, from a relationship with philosophy professor Raphael Enthoven.
With Bruni marrying for the first time, "I think she might need a white dress," said Colombe Pringle, editor of Point de Vue magazine, who said she has called Bruni to congratulate her.
Ordinary French couples must tie the knot at the local mayor's office — regardless of whether they also have a religious ceremony — with an official marriage notice published 10 days beforehand. Celebrities are not required to publish the notice in advance, and it's possible that Sarkozy, as president, could get special treatment to ensure his privacy.
A wedding would mark the end of headaches for protocol planners in foreign countries Sarkozy plans to visit — including India later this month.
The sooner they marry, the sooner the presidency's dignity will be restored, said Dominique Moisi of the French Institute of International Relations.
"As long as the possibility of the wedding is in front of him, there will be rumors, there will be media attention," Moisi said. "The moment he marries her she becomes the first lady of France, and that's it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.