LeAnn Rimes sues over phone call; enters treatment
LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeAnn Rimes sued two women she claims illegally recorded a phone conversation with her and posted snippets online, one day after she sought professional help for anxiety and stress.
Rimes sued Kimberly Smiley and her adult daughter Lexi on Thursday, seeking more than $25,000 in damages for recording a March phone conversation that ended up online on websites bashing the country singer.
Kimberly Smiley denied she posted the recording, saying she shared it with online acquaintances, one of whom played it for the ex-wife of Rimes' husband, Eddie Cibrian. "The whole thing is just ridiculous," she said. "It's just a celebrity who's too full of herself."
The invasion of privacy lawsuit came one day after Rimes, 30, entered an in-patient treatment facility in what her publicist Marcel Pariseau describes an attempt to "learn and develop coping mechanisms."
Pariseau says Rimes isn't seeking treatment for an eating disorder or substance abuse, adding that "while privacy isn't expected, it's certainly appreciated."
The recorded phone call occurred because a friend of Rimes connected the singer and Smiley to try to stop some negative online postings, according to the lawsuit and an interview with Smiley.
It is illegal in California for a party to record a phone call without the other person's knowledge.
"The making of the unauthorized recording and the posting of it and edited excerpts of it on various websites have resulted in a public and damaging depiction of Ms. Rimes, have harmed her reputation and personal relationships, and have caused her emotional distress," the lawsuit states.
Rimes and Cibrian were married in April 2011 and their relationship has remained a subject of tabloid fascination, due in part to them being married to other people when it started.
Kimberly Smiley, who is a schoolteacher in Northern California, said she has been on the receiving end of bullying from Rimes' supporters and has kept her Twitter and a YouTube post of the call on private settings. She said she shared the call with others but did not sell the recording, which she said her daughter made because of some "outrageous" things the singer was saying.
"I truly think this is a PR attempt to get people to think she's been victimized," she said.
Rimes' lawsuit states the singer is entitled to triple her actual damages if she wins at trial, and she is also seeking punitive damages and an order blocking the recording from being distributed further. Smiley questioned how much Rimes would be able to actually collect and said she was embarrassed to be involved in the dustup.
Rimes is keeping her weekend tour commitments through September during breaks from treatment.
Associated Press Writer Caitlin R. King in Nashville contributed to this report.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP . Follow http://www.twitter.com/AP_Country for the latest country music news from The Associated Press.
Fergie, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Heidi Klum all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »
Diva Double Date
Beyonce and Alicia Keys double date with their famous hubbies on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Where Are They?
See what the cast of "American Beauty" is up to today.Watch Video »
J.Lo's Mini Me
Jennifer Lopez shares an adorable photo of her look-alike daughter, plus more celebritots on social media on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Prince Harry, Jessica Alba and more stars who threw out the first pitch at baseball games.Watch Video »
Sofia Vergara poses in a revealing neon bikini while her "Modern Family" castmates hit the beach in Australia on Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Like us on Facebook?
UP NEXTsexy snap
From Crowd Ignite