The ex-wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn said she wasn't aware of his multiple extramarital affairs, in her first in-depth interview on the sex scandal that shattered the career and political ambitions of the former International Monetary Fund chief.

Anne Sinclair, a journalist and the editor of Huffington Post France, told France 2 television that she knew Strauss-Kahn (DSK) had a reputation for being a "charmer" and a "seducer" but believed his libertarian behaviour ended when they married, in 1995.

"I know it sounds idiotic and you can believe me or not, but I did not know," Sinclair, 65, said commenting on his numerous affairs and on the orgies DSK allegedly organised in France and in the US.

"When I married Dominique, I knew he was a charmer, that he was a seducer. That much I knew," she said.

Sinclair, who divorced Strauss-Kahn last year, said that, as any wife, she sometimes had doubts about her husband's fidelity and heard rumours about his numerous affairs but didn't believe them.

"Naturally there were public rumours. But rumours are spread to destroy, to kill, to damage, so I ignored them," she said in the interview.

"I had doubts, yes, doubts that every couple has," she said added. "I would often go to him and ask if things were true or not. He knew how to deny them and how to reassure me".

Strauss-Khan, 64, was forced to resign from the IMF and abandon hopes to run for president in 2012, after he was arrested on rape charges in New York in 2011.

Nafissatou Diallo, a 33-year old chambermaid at New York's Sofitel hotel claimed DSK emerged naked from the bathroom of his suite as she was tidying it and raped her.

Criminal charges were later dropped but Diallo maintained a civil lawsuit which was settled in 2012 for an undisclosed sum rumoured to be of up to $6m (£3.5m).

Sinclair, who famously stood by her husband at the time, described the experience as a "nightmare".

"To see the man with whom you live with his feet in chains and then the pair of us shut up in a house with 200 journalists hunting us, it's extremely violent. Everything was violent," she said, adding she never believed the allegations were true.

"I didn't believe it, I don't believe it and I know that it is not the case," she said.

The incident opened the gates to a number of fresh claims against DSK and investigations into his sexual conduct.

DSK is now facing aggravated pimping charges in a separate trial that is due to start later this year in France.

Judges in the northern city of Lille allege Strauss-Khan participated in a prostitution ring centred on the Carlton Hotel, where orgies described as "carnage with mattresses all over the floor" were held.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of ten years in jail and a fine of up to €1.5 million (£1.29m).