Spelling Family: Tori's Claims 'Hurtful'

The Spellings criticize the actress for comments made after her father's death

A statement issued on behalf of the Spelling family Thursday criticizes daughter Tori’s remarks following the death of her father Aaron last week.

“We are deeply saddened that, during our time of loss and grief, we are forced to respond to the media frenzy caused by the mean-spirited and surprising comments made by Tori to the press, just two days after the passing of Aaron,” the statement, issued by Spelling family rep Kevin Sasaki, begins.

“As we try to honor his memory with love and respect, the sudden media frenzy she has created at this sensitive time is hurtful and very disturbing,” it continues. “Aaron’s legacy deserved pure and unadulterated tribute and recognition which, sadly, has been tainted.

“Everyone deals with grief in a different way, and since Tori chose not to be here at that time, we believe she is having a harder time dealing with that loss. We understand how difficult it might have been for her to be here, and, perhaps, more difficult for her after she arrived. Aaron loved both his children with all his heart, and he understood how hard it was for her.”

Tori Spelling had no comment. It was unclear whether her brother Randy, 27, had any part in the statement.

Aaron Spelling died at age 83 on June 23. In the new issue of PEOPLE magazine, Tori says she first learned of his passing “when a friend who had heard on the news” e-mailed her Blackberry.

“I was devastated,” Tori, 33, tells PEOPLE. “I thought I had some time (to see him). And I was saddened that the news had not come from my mother.”

Two weeks before Aaron’s death, Tori had visited her father and introduced him to her new husband, Dean McDermott. The reunion marked the end of a nine-month rift between father and daughter, during which neither one spoke to or saw the other.

But the real bad blood was between Tori and her mother Candy, 60, who a source close to the family says was upset by her portrayal in Tori’s VH1 sitcom So NoTORIous.

For her part, Tori tells PEOPLE that “an outside party wedged this close family apart,” referring to Candy’s close friend Mark Nathanson, 66. Sasaki insists that Candy and Nathanson are just friends.

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