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Book: Michaele Salahi has multiple sclerosis

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Salahi has suffered from multiple sclerosis for nearly 17 years, book says
  • Couple are best known for slipping into a state dinner
  • Book says it will lay out when and why the Salahis were invited

(CNN) -- Michaele Salahi, best known for crashing a White House state dinner with her husband last year, suffers from multiple sclerosis, according to a new book released Wednesday.

Salahi's wafer-thin frame has often prompted rumors of anorexia, including from her castmate Lynda Erkiletian in the Bravo reality show, "The Real Housewives of DC."

However, according to the book, the 44-year-old has suffered from multiple sclerosis for nearly 17 years.

According to a news release, "Cirque du Salahi: Be Careful Who You Trust" will also dissect how the media got the story of the White House gate-crashing "wrong from the get-go."

The Virginia couple slipped through White House security and shook hands with President Barack Obama in November despite not being on the guest list for a state dinner for the prime minister of India. They also had their pictures taken with Vice President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The book claims to lay out details on when and why the Salahis were invited to the dinner.

Author Diane Dimond apparently also outlines the reasons why the couple did not publicly offer an explanation.

"On attorney's advice, and because of their 'iron-clad' contracts with Bravo, (the network on which she appears for "The Real Housewives of DC"), the Salahis felt they could not defend themselves -- not even when called before a committee of the United States Congress. Only now, that the danger of a possible federal indictment has faded with time, do they feel they can tell their side of the story."

Video: White House 'crashers' clear the air

Under questioning from the House Homeland Security Committee in January, husband, Tareq Salahi, repeated over and over again, "On the advice of counsel, I respectfully assert my right to remain silent and decline to answer your question."

The book says the couple has received death threats, subjected to late night TV ridicule and, in one instance, "Michaele barely escaped flipping her car during a high speed chase with paparazzi."

"We hope now that the book is out, America doesn't look upon us as criminals and crashers any longer," the couple said in a statement. "We also want America to know that you can still have a full, exciting and productive life even if you or your loved one is battling a debilitating, chronic disease such as MS."

Multiple sclerosis is a potentially debilitating disease in which the body's immune system eats away at the protective sheath that covers the nerves. This leads to an interference in communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

It affects 400,000 people in the United States, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.