French actor Alain Delon, who was once described as France’s answer to James Dean, has said that being gay is against nature, and that men are here to “love a woman” and not to “flirt with or get picked up by guys.”

The 77-year-old made the comments in response to a recently passed bill legalising same-sex marriage and adoption in France.

Speaking live on France 2, he was asked about his controversial stance on prohibiting same-sex couples from having children.

He responded: “Yes, it is against nature, I’m sorry.

“We are here to love a woman, to woo a woman, not to flirt with or get picked up by guys.”

On the topic of same-sex marriages, Mr Delon added: “I’m not against gay marriage, I do not give a damn, but I am against the adoption of children.”

The comments caused controversy during the interview, and some responded with negative comments on social networking sites.

Claude Serraute, a writer, said: “It is against nature to love yourself as much as he does.”

When the host told Mr Delon they were receiving a slew of angry messages on Twitter, he said: “What I do not want is for them to adopt. But we will not discuss it for hours, or it becomes a different issue.”

Alain Delon is a famous French-Swiss actor. Madonna once described him as “charismatic” and claimed she had seen every film he had ever starred in.

Among his many roles, he has appeared in René Clément’s Purple Noon (1960), Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (1963), and most recently Bernard-Henri Lévy’s Le Jour et la nuit (1996).

Last month, a far-right mayor in the south of France refused to officiate at the wedding of a lesbian couple, despite the government’s recently passed same-sex marriage law.