“I feel the marketing of, and public displays about, my private live by third parties are inappropriate,” the 81-year-old said in a statement released on Tuesday, arguing that people were exceeding the boundaries of good taste.
Kohl, who served as chancellor between 1982 and 1998, appears to be referring to the furore surrounding recent book releases. A recent autobiography by his son Walter portrayed Kohl as a bad father.
Another by journalist Heribert Schwan called Kohl’s wife, Hannelore, a tortured soul who had been poorly treated by her husband.
The books have unleashed a torrent of mostly negative media coverage and tarnished Kohl’s image, portraying him as obsessed with politics and his legacy at the expense of his family life.
In his statement, the former chancellor said such portrayals were ”on essential points not in accord with the truth.”
Kohl’s public image since he left office has also been damaged by the financial corruption scandal in which both he and his conservative Christian Democrats party were implicated.
The discussion about Kohl’s personal life comes at a particularly sensitive time for the former chancellor. July 5 marks the 10th anniversary of Hannelore’s death. She killed herself in 2001 after enduring years of a debilitating illness that left her in severe pain.
He also remains estranged from his son Walter.
Walter Kohl and Schwan reported that Helmut Kohl spent little time with his family, instead preferring to work in his office and take calls from government leaders.
Although Hannelore entered her marriage with bright expectations, the relationship degenerated as Kohl entered national politics, Schwan wrote.
Eventually, Hannelore grew to despise the national spotlight, becoming largely a recluse before she took her own life.