President Nicolas Sarkozy's new wife, former supermodel Carla Bruni, said in an interview published Tuesday that it was love at first sight between her and the French premier.
In her first interview since the couple's wedding earlier this month, the 40-year-old told L'Express weekly that she took her responsibilities and her commitment to Sarkozy very seriously and would be his wife "until death".
The couple's romance became official in December, just two months after Sarkozy's divorce from his second wife Cecilia, and a short time after, on February 2, they married discreetly.
However, according to Bruni the wedding could not have come soon enough.
What happened "between Nicolas and me was not quick, it was instant. So for us, this was actually very slow", she was quoted as saying.
The president's third wife, who once said monogamy "bores" her, told the magazine: "I am the first lady up until the end of my husband's mandate, and then his wife until death. I know that life can hold surprises, but that's what I hope for."
Bruni also said that she wants to "keep her personality" in her new position as France's first lady.
Asked about her predecessors Danielle Mitterrand or Bernadette Chirac, she told the magazine: "These are women I respect."
"However, just as Nicolas is not like his predecessors, I would like, as well, while respecting the dignity of the position, to keep my personality," she said.
"I do not know yet what I can do as first lady, but I do know how I want to do it: seriously," she added, according to excerpts published online Tuesday.
She said her first official trip as first lady would be a visit to Britain scheduled for March 26-28, adding that it would be "exhilarating" to meet the queen.
" I am 40 and normal"
Bruni, 40, has been linked with numerous men in the past, has a child from a previous relationship and has been portrayed in the press as a party animal and a home-breaker.
"I understand that people are worried about what I am, especially with these portraits of me that are often fantastical and sometimes awful. But I want to reassure the French. I am 40, I am normal, serious, aware, simple, even if I am privileged."
Sarkozy, 53, has been married twice before and cynics have questioned how long his third marriage might hold up.
Bruni herself said she was in it for the long haul.
"I've never been married before. I come from an Italian culture and wouldn't like to get divorced."
Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Bruni said her husband made her feel safe. "Nicolas is brave enough for two people. He is very protective, very paternal," she said.
Her marriage to Sarkozy has helped trigger a collapse in his ratings, with many voters accusing the president of focusing too much on his private life and not enough on their economic problems, such as the growing cost of living.
But Bruni said her husband was constantly at work and they managed to have very little time together. Even their honeymoon had lasted just 20 minutes, she joked.
Although Bruni is used to the glare of the media, she said the attention she had received since she started dating Sarkozy had staggered her, with "600 photographers" turning up to shoot their holidays in Petra in January.