Leadsom has denied capitalising on the fact May does not have children, accusing The Times of "gutter journalism" and claiming the journalist who interviewed her misrepresented what she had said.
The newspaper decided to publish a transcript and audio recording of the interview.
Interviewer: During the debates you repeatedly said as a mum. Do you feel like a mum in politics?
Leadsom: "Yes. I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn't have children so I don't want this to be 'Andrea has children, Theresa hasn't' because I think that would be really horrible but genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake. She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people, but I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next."
Interviewer: "So it really keeps you focused on what are you really saying?"
Leadsom: "It means you don't want a downturn but never mind ten years hence it will all be fine, my children will be starting their lives in that next ten years so I have a real stake in the next year, the next two."