Emmanuel Macron, who was recently elected President of France, claimed homophobia and misogyny are to blame for the public and media’s obsession with his wife, who is 24 years his senior.
He told Le Parisien about how people had invented “parallel lives” for him, and speculated about his sexuality.
Mr Macron also claimed that no one would question it if his wife was 20 years his junior.
“If I had been 20 years older than my wife, nobody would have thought for a single second that I couldn’t be [an intimate partner],” he said.
“It’s because she is 20 years older than me that lots of people say, ‘This [relationship] can’t be tenable, it can’t be possible.”
Mr Macron added: “There is a big problem with the presentation of society and [how they see] the place of women,”.
He claimed the conspiracy theories around him and his wife are due to “misogyny” and people ascribing to “traditional, homogenous” views about society.
He said “rampant homophobia” caused critics to accuse him of being gay as if it were a “stain or disease”.
Mr Macron claimed people who started these rumours had“lost their sense of reality” and had a “big problem with homosexuality”.
As first lady, Brigitte Trogneux will assume a powerful role that Mr Macron’s aides compare to that of Michelle Obama during her time in the White House.
He often refers to his wife, who is 24 years his senior, as his intellectual soulmate and confidante. Mr Macron, 39, says he will govern more effectively if he is happy — and that means having Brigitte at his side.
She was married and a mother of three when he fell in love with her as a schoolboy in the red-brick rustbelt town of Amiens in northern France.
Their affair scandalised the local community and Mr Macron’s parents packed him off to study in Paris.
Defying expectations that the relationship would be short-lived, they married in 2007.