Blake Shelton has sued Bauer Media, the company that publishes newsstand tabloid InTouch Weekly, for $2 million in a lawsuit sparked by the magazine publishing a story accusing him of alcoholism. The country superstar and television personality vehemently denies reports that he has a serious drinking problem. The 39-year-old country star says in the court documents that he is “furious” to see himself depicted as “a man who cannot function, cannot do his job, and is on the brink of death without treatment.” He is suing for defamation and false invasion of privacy.
The Sept. 28, 2015 issue of the magazine featured a large picture of Shelton as well as the headline “Rehab for Blake … He Finally Hits Rock Bottom.” The salacious story claimed he checked into rehab after his split from Miranda Lambert due to an uncontrollable drinking problem. The singer and coach on The Voice has declared he is not struggling with alcohol abuse in the court documents.
Blake Shelton claimed that he has never been to a rehab and the magazine, claiming he had, almost ruined his career. He also refuted allegations in the story that he started drinking at age 14 to cope with his brother’s death, that he urinated on a mailbox, and that he has been so drunk at times that he was unable to perform his job on The Voice.
The story also alleged that his binge drinking had contributed to the dissolution of his marriage to Miranda Lambert. The report claimed that his drunken indiscretions helped bring about their split, including allegations that Lambert caught him with a bunch of naked women in their Tennessee home one night. The couple announced their divorce in July of 2015 after four years of marriage.
Shelton’s marriage to Lambert was the subject of intense tabloid scrutiny, and that scrutiny has become more intense after he announced his relationship with Gwen Stefani. That relationship was confirmed on the day of the CMA Awards in November. In the documents, Shelton says, “I did not handle my first divorce by drinking, nor has my drinking increased or escalated since my divorce from Ms. Lambert.”
Blake Shelton filed suit against the celebrity gossip publication in October of 2015. Bauer Media filed a motion to dismiss Shelton’s suit in February, saying that the story was “substantially true.” Bauer previously argued that the story hadn’t explicitly stated Shelton was in rehab, but claimed that sources said he had been urged to enter a program. The company cited Shelton’s tweets about drinking as evidence that he “has staked his reputation on heavy drinking.” Shelton says he often jokes about alcohol, but that “in no way indicates that I have an actual problem with alcohol.”