Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has challenged those who say that his wife had other affairs in addition to the one with the then 19-year-old Kirk McCambley that she has confessed to.

He also says he first found out about the affair in a letter that outlined the relationship with the 19-year-old, which was when his wife attempted to take her own life.

In an extraordinary interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Robinson stated that if the accusations were true then he could reconsider trying to save his marriage. He remains convinced there was only one affair, but if others are proven that could change his mind.

""These journalists who make these accusations make them very carefully," he says.

"They know that a woman who has had an affair is deemed as someone who has no reputation to defend so they proceed to print claims on that basis.

"They also know that since one of these people is deceased they cannot libel him, and of course another remains unnamed, so he cannot be libeled either.

"You see, I have to go back to the events of March 1 last year (the night his wife attempted to take her own life).

"Afterwards, despite the hurt and pain that I felt, I told Iris that I would attempt to repair and to continue with our marriage provided that she told me everything and that there were no secrets between us.

"Now I have seen these accusations, so I'm saying to these journalists, show me your proof. Tell me what you know -- if you know anything at all.

"Because I have decisions to make about my life, too.

"Obviously, after what has happened in our marriage trust has clearly been affected, not just by what I found out that night, but also by some aspects of the story played out on 'Spotlight', (The BBC program that first highlighted the affair) things that I had not been told about (as regards the affair).

"So, yes, as I said in my statement last Wednesday, I want to rebuild the marriage, but I also said that we were on a road without guarantees, but not without hope.

"And any new revelation which transpired to be true would clearly make that road more difficult.

"However, for the time being, I travel that road on the basis of an understanding that I have been given all the key facts."

He also defended himself against accusations that he acted inappropriately by going to work and being seen in a jovial moment after the day after his wife tried to commit suicide

"Ten months ago when I discovered what had happened -- and I think anybody who is married will understand the emotions that come into play in such circumstances -- I attempted to come to terms with it.

"But having to assimilate all that for 10 months in private was nothing to having to deal with it in public."

 "One does have to question the insidious nature of the 'Spotlight' program when they chose to show the one small portion of First Minister questions when someone put in a question of a jovial nature and I responded in kind and then they started to indicate that I had left my wife in a dire state.

"I had stayed by Iris's side throughout the night and during that time she had become more lucid and we were having conversations. First we had dealt with the immediate impact and made sure the drugs were out of her body. I will not go into any further detail.

"We then took expert medical advice and acted according to it. On three occasions during the course of the night we took advice and then we were told to let her have a sleep.

"Three members of the family stayed with her and I went to carry out my duties, all the time being updated by phone by family members.

"But it just seems that I cannot win over this business."

"How am I dealing with this?"

"Well, my weight had dropped from 215.5lb to 180lb over the past 10 months, though it's not a diet plan I would recommend to anyone.

"But there are days when, were it not a case of getting up and getting on with things for the sake of the family, your instinct is just to get into bed, turn out the light, pull yourself into a fetal position and not come out again."

Robinson also hinted that there were aspects to Iris' childhood and background that would explain some of her behavior. He predicted that "someday it will" be told.