A Los Angeles judge tentatively ruled today that Blake Shelton can proceed with his lawsuit against the publisher of In Touch Weekly over a story that stated the singer was in rehab for a drinking problem that was partly to blame for the breakup of his marriage.
Shelton, 39, filed the lawsuit in October against Bauer Publishing Co. LLP, alleging defamation and false light invasion of privacy.
“The Voice” judge is seeking at least $1 million in general and compensatory damages, as well as a court order preventing the tabloid from repeating its allegations.
A Bauer representative could not be immediately reached.
U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder indicated she would rule in favor of allowing Shelton’s suit to proceed, and would issue her final decision in a few days.
The lawsuit alleges the In Touch story was riddled with “numerous false assertions” about the country music star, including passages stating “Blake’s drinking and womanizing are what helped torpedo his four-year marriage” to fellow singer Miranda Lambert and that “Blake has hit rock bottom.”
The suit says that contrary to the In Touch article’s assertion, Shelton has no plans of going into a rehabilitation program and that In Touch never contacted the singer’s representatives for his side of the story before making the allegations.
“Instead, In Touch went straight to publication with a … false and salacious cover it knew would hook readers who seem to have an endless appetite for intimate details of celebrities supposedly in crisis,” the suit states.
In Touch previously published a false story alleging Shelton had an affair, but the singer did not take action at that time because he is “not a litigious person” and the magazine had “assured Mr. Shelton that it was going to leave him alone,” according to the suit.