By Erin Duvall
Blake Shelton is suing a magazine for a September cover story that alleged his drinking led to his divorce from Miranda Lambert and that he was headed to rehab. The suit, which was filed in October 2015, is against InTouch Weekly. In response, the publication filed a motion in February saying the suit interfere’s with its First Amendment Rights. Now, Shelton is is firing back.
“I do not drink excessively, binge drink or have a drinking problem … I am never drunk, intoxicated or unable to perform my job on The Voice or elsewhere …,” Shelton tells the court. “I did not do anything while ‘wasted that destroyed [my] marriage’ … During our marriage, Ms. Lambert never begged, demanded or asked me to go to rehab … I did not handle my first divorce by drinking, nor has my drinking increased or escalated since my divorce from Ms. Lambert.”
In the motion from Feb., Bauer Publishing, which owns InTouch Weekly, defends its actions due to Shelton’s self created drinking persona.
“Shelton ignores that he has staked his reputation on heavy drinking: He tweets more than 15 million Twitter followers almost daily with messages crowing about how much he drinks and is famous for his signature Twitter tagline, ‘Drunk,’” court documents state. “Shelton also ignores the years of press — which went unchallenged by any legal claims — documenting how his ex-wife, among others, were so upset by his alcohol consumption that she told him to go to rehab. By this action, Shelton attempts to walk back a public image he created. Yet the law does not allow for selective amnesia.”
Shelton addressed those claims in his most recent filing.
“Contrary to Bauer’s reporting, drinking has not taken a toll on my well-being,” documents state. “I do not now, nor have I ever had, health problems caused by or related to drinking … The Rehab Story is wrong that my friends, colleagues and team think I have a problem and need help. To my knowledge, nobody around me, including my managers, peers and work colleagues, and friends, thinks I have a drinking problem.”
Bauer also argues that going to seeking treatment for alcohol abuse is not defamatory. “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,” the publication argues.
A hearing in this case will take place on April 11.