Clay Aiken is being sued for more than a quarter of a million dollars by the author of an “unauthorized tribute” to the American Idol runner-up.
Jeannie Holleman, 50, of Raleigh, N.C., claims that Aiken defamed her and conspired to hinder sales of her 2005 book, Out of the Blue – ‘Clay’ it Forward, the Associated Press reports.
Holleman describes herself as a lifelong friend and neighbor of the McGhees, a Raleigh family that was close to Aiken’s mother, Faye Parker, and took in Parker and a young Aiken after Parker left her abusive husband.
Holleman’s book is a compilation of interviews with the McGhees, along with the author’s personal recollections and anecdotes from Aiken’s fans.
In her lawsuit, filed Friday in Wake County Superior Court, Holleman alleges that Aiken, his mother and others denied they knew her, said her stories were lies and belittled the book on Aiken fan sites in an effort to defame Holleman and depress her book sales.
She also claims that one of Aiken’s bodyguards manhandled her at a Hawaii fundraiser.
Holleman is seeking at least $260,000 in damages. She also asks that the court order Aiken to retract his critical comments or to endorse Out of the Blue on his official Web site, write an introduction for the book and sell it at his concerts for at least five years.
On Monday, Aiken, 27, issued a statement through his record company, RCA (which will release his new album, A Thousand Different Ways, on Sept. 19), saying that he’d “instructed my attorneys to not only vigorously dispute the claims that have been made but to also pursue all possible remedies against those involved in the perpetration of these untruths.”
The statement continues, “As a so-called ‘celebrity’ I have become used to scurrilous allegations and untruths being made about me and my work. I have always taken the path of not reacting to these matters and have accepted them as, somehow, coming with the ‘job.’ However, I cannot, and will not, stand by when these attacks are made on my family.”