File photo: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy blows a kiss next to ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy.

London - Carla Bruni suffered “years of unhappiness” living in the Elysee Palace as the First Lady of France, a close confidant said.

The Italian-born heiress, 45, “suffered” psychologically after sacrificing her career for her official duties, her agent Bertrand de Labbey said.

She was urged by presidential aides to give up her work as a musician when she married Nicolas Sarkozy in January 2008 after a whirlwind romance.

Mr Labbey said: “She suffered from not being able to do her job as a songwriter while she lived at the Elysee. But she made a choice. She chose a man she loves and is happy with him.”

He said that she took “very badly” repeated media attacks on her husband during his five years as president until May 2012.

Mr Labbey, who also announced that Miss Bruni would be releasing her fourth album this spring, said: “She was never a political woman, so she never had the thick skin she needed, and she was always very, very sensitive to all the attacks on her husband.

“In fact she took it all very badly, and after a certain point she became an unhappy woman.” - Daily Mail