After years of dealing with critics questioning his religion and his citizenship, President Barack Obama now has another dubious rumor to deal with -- this time over his relationship with the recording artist and actress Beyoncé Knowles.
French photographer Pascal Rostain claimed Obama is having an affair with the pop star in a report published by French newspaper Le Figaro on Monday.
"It'll go out tomorrow in The Washington Post -- people can't say that it comes from the gutter press -- an alleged affair between President Barack Obama and Beyoncé," Rostain said, according to a HuffPost translation. "I can assure you that the world will talk about it."
The Washington Post has yet to publish anything about such an affair. Kris Coratti, a spokeswoman for the paper, told Poynter the rumor of a report is "definitely not true."
Rostain told Le Figaro he thinks recent footage of the Obamas shows the president becoming "a bit distant" with his wife, Michelle. He compared America's first couple to French President François Hollande and his now ex-girlfriend Valérie Trierweiler, whose breakup caused some complications for the White House ahead of Hollande's visit to Washington this week.
Rostain also brought up two famous mistresses of past U.S. presidents, saying not to "forget Marilyn [Monroe] or Monica Lewinsky."
"One can be the president of the biggest world power, one's not less a man," Rostain said.
Beyoncé has been married to rapper Jay Z since 2008. A spokesman for the singer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: 12:15 p.m. -- Rostain backpedaled on his comments in a piece published on jeanmarcmorandini.com later on Monday, saying he "didn't say that at all" about Obama and Beyoncé. He clarified that "some American journalists were working on the case."
"It looks like things between Barack and Michelle Obama haven't been in the best of shape for a couple of weeks," Rostain said, according to a HuffPost translation. "From what I know, the atmosphere is pretty frigid between Barack and Michelle. But I know nothing more.”
Eline Gordts contributed reporting.