The superstar singer takes the action over a story in Star alleging she has a serious drinking problem...

ARETHA FRANKLIN is suing a US tabloid magazine for $50 million (about £35 million) after it ran a story about her, alleging serious drinking problems.

The Star, a supermarket tabloid, published a story last week under the headline ‘Aretha Franklin Drinking Herself Into The Grave’ and alleged in the copy that the Queen of Soul had missed several concerts dates this year due to alcoholism.

Franklin’s agent of 40 years Ruth Bowen told that the story headlined was “completely derogatory” and “nothing but lies, lies, lies”.

The singer’s record company, Arista, released a statement from Franklin saying she was “appalled and shocked to hear last week that there was a totally trashy and grossly untrue article using my name and likeness in a weekly sleaze supermarket paper that had no bearing whatsoever on who I am and what the truth is, seemingly, because I cancelled one or two appearances out of 50 or more this year for legitimate reasons.”

It went on: “I realise this magazine, as most intelligent Americans do, writes sleaze for big G’s about innocent celebrities and high-profile people with reckless regard for the truth and no proof of such things; based on hearsay and their personal resentments; and on the old lame bullshit of ‘sources close to.’ “Hopefully, ‘sources close to’ have advised them that I am filing a $50 million lawsuit for defamation of character, gross inaccuracies, and lies, and the writer’s cheap, low-class, vicious, and reckless attempt at journalism at my expense.”

The Star have yet to respond.