George Clooney Slams 'Criminal' Wedding Story
George Clooney has taken the unusual step of responding to an article written about him.
The story, published on MailOnline and now taken down, suggested the Hollywood star's future mother-in-law was unhappy with her daughter's choice of man.
In its article, the website quoted unnamed sources as saying Lebanese-born journalist and broadcaster Baria Alamuddin, the mother of Clooney's lawyer fiancee Amal, was annoyed because her daughter was not marrying into what it said was the family's Druze religion.
It quoted Ms Alamuddin as saying her daughter could "do better" and that she risked "being cast out of the community".
That, the actor says, is simply not the case.
In an exclusive statement to USA Today, Clooney, 53, said the story was "not true".
"Amal's mother is not Druze," he said. "She has not been to Beirut since Amal and I have been dating, and she is in no way against the marriage, but none of that is the issue.
"If they fabricate stories of Amal being pregnant, or the marriage is on the set of Downton Abbey, or that I'm running for office, or any number of idiotic stories that they sit at their computers and invent, I don't care," he said.
What he cared about, he said, was that religion was being brought into the mix.
"The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous," the actor added.
"We have family members all over the world, and the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal."
MailOnline responded by saying its story was "not a fabrication" and had been supplied in good faith by a trusted freelance journalist.
It said: "We only became aware of Mr Clooney's concerns this morning and have launched a full investigation.
"However, we accept Mr Clooney's assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologise to him, Miss Amal Alamuddin and her mother, Baria, for any distress caused.
"We have removed the article from our website and will be contacting Mr Clooney's representatives to discuss giving him the opportunity to set the record straight."
The couple have not revealed details of their wedding plans, although rumours say they will be married in Italy, where Clooney has a house and spends much of his time.