Victory for Team Blake! Blake Shelton just won an important ruling in his lawsuit against In Touch Weekly, as a federal judge ordered on Monday, April 18, that his defamation lawsuit can move forward over a false rehab story.
The country superstar, 39, claimed his reputation was damaged after the tabloid plastered a headline on a September issue claiming that Shelton was heading to rehab for a drinking problem after his split from wife Miranda Lambert. The Voice star filed the lawsuit a month later in the Los Angeles Superior Court and is reportedly seeking more than $1 million in damages and an injunction to prevent the mag from reprinting any claims made in the article, according to Rolling Stone.
Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled in the favor of the “God Gave Me You” singer on Monday and denied the magazine’s motion to dismiss the suit. Although the magazine cited its First Amendment right of free speech, the court found that the headline alone — “Rehab for Blake: He Finally Hits Rock Bottom” — was enough to support a claim for libel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The cover story also claimed Shelton drinks vodka before noon, his drinking habits destroyed his marriage to Lambert and friends were attempting to stage an intervention.
“A reasonable person viewing the In Touch headlines and sub-headlines — which were located 30 pages away from the Article — might well have concluded that Shelton had, in fact, entered ‘REHAB’ after ‘his friends begged him to stop joking about drinking & get help,” Snyder wrote, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Next, Shelton and his legal team will have to establish that In Touch published the story with “actual malice.”
Meanwhile, Shelton is busy serving as a coach on Season 10 of The Voice and gearing up for the release of his new album, If I’m Honest, which includes a duet with girlfriend Gwen Stefani. As Us Weekly previously reported, Shelton is ready to propose to the “Make Me Like You” singer after five months of dating. “Blake hasn’t been this happy in years!” a source told Us.
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