Melania Trump lives in the White House as a virtual prisoner of the Secret Service and is hiding a strong personality, suggests Brigitte Macron.
The wife of the French president praised the first lady and told of her fun side after a three-day visit to Washington.
Yet to many Mrs Trump seemed stern and unsmiling compared to the repeated hand-holding and hugging her husband and French President Emmanuel Macron shared during the trip, reports Daily Mail.
The image portrayed by the 48-year-old is allegedly a lie, Mrs Macron, 65, said: "On the contrary she is really fun. We have the same sense of humour. We laugh a lot together.
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"Everything is interpreted, over-interpreted. She's someone who has a strong personality but she makes an effort to hide it."
Mrs Macron also offered sympathy for the restricted life she believes Mrs Trump must live: "She is much more constrained than me. Melania can't do anything.
"The security is terrible. She can't even open a window at the White House because immediately the security services call and say 'close it'.
"She can't put a foot outside," Mrs Macron told French reporters. "Every day, I go out in Paris."
The two first ladies held on to each other while balancing on their towering heels during the White House welcome ceremony, Le Monde reported.
Twenty-five years older than her husband, Mrs Macron spoke of her life at the Élysée Palace after nearly a year there, The Times said.
The former teacher, whose relationship with Mr Macron began when he was her teenage pupil, said she has been forced to restrain her energy but insists she won't be changing herself as she has nothing to prove at her age.