Rumours that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy are both having affairs are gaining momentum in France.
The suggestion that the couple were both committing adultery first emerged on Twitter, the microblogging website. It was followed by a report in the Sunday newspaper le Journal du Dimanche.
The first 'tweet' claimed that Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy had become romantically involved with Benjamin Biolay, a musician and a winner at France's recent Victoires de la Musique awards.
It then claimed that the jilted Mr Sarkozy had swiftly found solace in the arms of his 40-year-old ecology minister Chantal Jouanno, also a French karate champion.
French web magazine suchablog.com alleged that Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy had been a close friend of Biolay for many years and was now unofficially living with him at his flat in Paris.
The rumours were given extra weight after being reported in an blog on the website of Le Journal du Dimanche.
The paper wrote: "It's the gossip of the moment that could become the story of the year.
"A romance is said to have started a few weeks ago between the First Lady of France and music award winner Benjamin Biolay.
"The rumour started on Twitter and is now on blogs and websites everywhere."
The Journal du Dimanche added: "It says the presidential marriage is breathing its last breaths. Carla Bruni is in love with Benjamin Biolay and the president has found solace with Chantal Jouanno."
The same story has also been reported by other established news sites including Yahoo News France, Le Post and Agoravoxtv, as well as TV news channel i-Tele.
It is the first time since Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy and Mr Sarkozy met at a Paris dinner party in November 2007 that there have been repeated rumours suggestions the marriage is in crisis.
For several months after their whirlwind romance and marriage three months later, regular reports predicted the marriage would only last as long as Mr Sarkozy remained president.
Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy's now notorious remark that she is "easily bored by monogamy" is also frequently quoted by the media.
But now, for the first time, rumours of trouble in the marriage have reached the mainstream French media.
Mr Sarkozy and Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy have both reportedly had affairs in past relationships.
Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy - whose string of previous lovers includes Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and Donald Trump - is said to have had a relationship with Jean-Paul Enthoven, before dumping him for his philosopher son Raphael, with whom she has a son, Aurelien. But the younger Mr Enthoven left the former model, saying he felt she was "uncommitted to the relationship".
Mr Sarkozy is reported to have had an affair with Cecilia Ciganer-Albaniz, who eventually became his second wife, while still married to his first wife, Marie-Dominique Culioli, the mother of his two elder sons.
Mr Sarkozy and his second wife split during his presidential election campaign in 2007, when she started having an affair with Richard Attais, a US publicist.
Mr Sarkozy's spokesman at the Elysee Palace in Paris said on Tuesday that he had "absolutely no comment" to make on the rumours of extra-marital affairs among France's first couple.