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The Real Story Behind Clay Aiken's Coming Out

People was the only tabloid with a chance

JOSSIP REPORTS — The story behind Clay Aiken's coming out cover for People goes something like this: Lots of magazines were in the running for the photo exclusive, but People outbid them all for a cool $500,000. That's the way MSNBC's The Scoop reported it last week, and that's the story Page Six carried this morning.

Except as our sources tell it — and these are the type of sources who were, let's say, involved in the actual transaction — OK! didn't have a shot in hell at the pictures. In fact, no tabloid did. Not Us Weekly, not Star, and certainly not In Touch or Life & Style.

Despite what OK! might have you believe, the only way Clay's coming out would be told was in the pages of People. And that's exactly how it happened. Here's why:

Clay's publicist is Cindi Berger at PMK-HBH, the powerhouse PR firm. Berger's client roster includes names like Barbara Walters, and another famous gay, Rosie O'Donnell. Suffice to say, she hates the tabloids with a passion, and the idea of having a "working relationship" with them in a farce. Except for People. She's maintained a long and healthy relationship with the tabloid, and knew it was the only place for her client Aiken to come out. Additionally, People has a history of respecting coming out stories (see: Lance, Ellen).

Which meant that not only did Aiken's camp not shop the pictures around to all the tabloids, but the weeklies that did try to submit bids to Team Aiken were rebuffed. We're told Berger and PMK "did not entertain any interest" from other magazines. "They were all brushed off," says our knowledgeable source.

Further, this story was a two-parter: Clay came out and showed off his newborn celebrity baby. If he were simply unveiling his new child without coming out, maybe Aiken would've taken the photos to market to bid up the price. But combining the baby pics with his coming out story, Berger and Aiken knew People was the only logical decision.

The reports you've been reading, from MSNBC and Page Six, insist that OK! was bidding for Clay's pics, but that new topper Kent Brownridge pulled the plug because he's done with spending huge sums on exclusive photos. Which, to be sure, may be true: Brownridge is indeed cutting the fat at the tabloid to lower spending. But even if Brownridge decided to actually compete with People, OK! would've have snagged the pics. Insists our source: "Any editor who claims they had any real discussion with PMK about Aiken coming out is lying, plain and simple."

For what it's worth, the gossip mill is pointing its finger at exiting OK! executive editor Rob Shuter as the source of both the MSNBC and P6 items. Last week, when we heard rumblings about all this, we asked The Scoop's Courtney Hazlett, who used to work at OK!, whether she was fed the info from Shuter, but she insisted she had "multiple sources" on the item.

Meanwhile, ousted editor-in-chief Sarah Ivens has been the rumored source on last week's Brownridge-bashing in the Post.

These are all just pure coincidences, right?

Comments (14)
No. 1 · Cracker

Who really gives a fuck about this troll?

Posted: Sep 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 2 · Charity

Oh well, at least the baby is cute.

Posted: Sep 30, 2008 at 3:55 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 3 · Hopeful

Well someone still has their facts wrong- it was posted on Clay's official web-site over the week-end by someone in his official camp that NO money changed hands for the interview or pics.

Posted: Sep 30, 2008 at 4:11 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 4 · afan

Very interesting. MSNBC and page six also said Clay Aiken was paid $500,000.00 for his story and pictures.Guess they made that up too,because his EP said Clay Aiken insisted he NOT be paid for his story or any pictures.That story has been all over TV. Funny how they quote them selves as being the sourse of their own lies.

Posted: Sep 30, 2008 at 4:23 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 5 · Kendra

This story is getting old. Who cares how much he got paid?

Posted: Sep 30, 2008 at 4:32 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 6 · phenol

Why don't you inveterate Clay apologists just say that it was Jaymes Foster who posted on the fan club message board that Clay received no money for the story? As to the truth, that would be the same Jaymes Foster who spent two days arguing with fans that Clay never lied. Still, I notice that this story doesn't actually say People paid. Not that it matters: the MSNBC story, which spread far and wide. is the one people will remember, especially without an official denial from Aiken's camp.

Posted: Sep 30, 2008 at 4:53 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 7 · David

Jossip should correct the story to say that Clay didn't want to be paid for his story. Its the right thing to do.

Posted: Sep 30, 2008 at 7:14 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 8 · jeando

Maybe they made a deposit to Unicef or his BAF foundation. I don't think Clay would have been on Intouch or USweekly or OK for that matter. People has a better reputation than the rest of the tabloids.

Thank you to those that don't care and yet post a comment to say they don't care. Also a big thank you to those that only care to report what they've seen by following his fans. I appreciate all of you that help make Clay stories popular. Thank you for not caring.

Posted: Oct 1, 2008 at 2:48 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 9 · Keith Jelly

Strange that with Ivens and Shuter on the way out of OK! there's an almost daily leak to the New York Post.

Must be a coincidence.

Posted: Oct 1, 2008 at 5:00 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 10 · Liara

You mean Clay Aiken actually… LIED? OMG!!

Posted: Oct 1, 2008 at 9:45 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 11 · Bob

Who gives a shit about Gay aiken? He matters about as much as a fart in a hurricane.

Posted: Oct 1, 2008 at 1:40 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 12 · Crabby Abby

The Gayken isn't even a has-been; he's a never was!!

Posted: Oct 1, 2008 at 10:44 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 13 · What Now

I find it rather funny that some of you spout how he is a has been and yet you are compelled to post your opinions as if you are someone yourself.

Posted: Oct 1, 2008 at 11:20 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 14 · marie

bob and cracker you better watch your mouth and watch what you say,theirs no need to use that kind of language. and dont talk back to me because im 72 ill put you over my knee and spank you.haha.if you guys dont have something nice to say keep it to your self.marie

Posted: Oct 2, 2008 at 11:06 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
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