Blake Shelton has always vehemently denied rumors of his alcoholism, but now a tabloid he is suing is moving to strike a defamation lawsuit against them.
In a story published this past September, Shelton was portrayed as being a drunk and a womanizer who had a grave enough problem with alcohol to land him in rehab.
The country singer has asserted that the entire story in In Touch was put together through “friend-of-friend gossip” and a source who believes that they can “spot alcoholism.”
The story was entitled “The Real Story: REHAB for Blake,” and detailed Shelton’s struggles with alcoholism and womanizing, but Bauer Publishing, the force behind In Touch, denies that the story was slanderous. Bauer asserts that it was made clear that he hadn’t checked into rehab and that he was working hard on the new season of The Voice, according to Billboard.
In order to protect their name, Bauer is utilizing the anti-SLAPP statute prevalent in California, which exists to protect the First Amendment rights on any issue of public interest. In the opposition papers that were filed this past Wednesday (March 16) attorney Larry Stein said that as a celebrity, Shelton’s “private medical condition is not an issue of public interest.” It is now up to a judge whether or not the lawsuit continues.
Shelton’s camp goes on the belief that the cover is defamatory, especially since it goes on the premise that his drinking and womanizing ended his marriage to fellow country singer Miranda Lambert. Bauer said that “There is nothing inherently defamatory about electing to seek treatment for drinking.”
The response from Shelton’s camp was, “Accepting as true that changing social mores have led to an increased number of people with empathy for people suffering from alcoholism, Bauer is not immunized from liability for defamation where a respectable minority still views the Rehab Story with contempt.”
While it remains unknown if marriage to Miranda Lambert dissolved due to alcoholism and womanizing, Shelton has been hot and heavy with fellow The Voice judge Gwen Stefani. The two recently made their official red carpet debut as a couple at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, although it had been rumored that they had split.