A supposedly leaked cover for a new issue of America’ People magazine announcing Twilight star Taylor Lautner’s coming out has been revealed to be a fake.
The cover image, declaring that the hunky Lautner (19) is “out and proud”, was posted across the internet on Monday and generated massive interest around the world.
It reads further: “Tired of rumours, the Twilight star opens up about his decision to finally come out. ‘I’m more liberated, and happier than I’ve ever been.'”
Hip-hop producer and Def Jam head Russell Simmons congratulated Lautner in response: “Proud of Taylor Lautner for his bravery and his courage.”
Later, realising that the story was a hoax, he commented: “disappointed that people would joke about someone coming out about their sexuality. Let Taylor Lautner be whoever he wants to be…”
People magazine confirmed that the cover, dated January 7, 2012, was a fabrication.
Lautner has been at the centre of rumours about his sexual orientation since coming into the public eye with the Twilight films, but has insisted that he is straight.
When asked by GQ Australia in October if he had been hit on by openly gay director Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black at a much-publicised dinner, Lautner replied:
“No, definitely not. I think they know I’m straight. But they’re great guys. They’re a lot of fun.”
GQ Australia later apologised for asking the question after activists accused the magazine of suggesting that gay men are predatory.