Rihanna's Ex-Publicist Admits He Made Up Jay Z Affair Rumors

"I just want to put this rumor to rest once and for all."

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

It's easy to forget that Rihanna was once Jay Z's protege. After all, the Barbadian baddie has gone on to forge such a strong, independent image of her own, it's hard to imagine her as anything other than the powerful superstar we all know her as today.

Still, Rihanna was once a newbie artist struggling to get noticed. Back in 2005, one of the most scandalous celeb rumors of the year involved 17-year-old Rihanna and her mentor, Jay Z: specifically, that the two were hooking up behind Beyonce's back. It was never confirmed, of course, and interest in the story eventually waned, as it does with most celeb rumors. But Jonathan Hay, Riri's former publicist, recently went public about making up the rumor in a misguided effort to boost his client's struggling career.

"I'm ashamed that I'm even talking about this. I just want to put this rumor to rest once and for all," Hay told The New York Daily News. He's even apologized to Beyonce since then.

Still these Jay Z/Rihanna affair rumors are ancient history, so why bring it up now? Hay, who's now producing music himself, explained in a statement that the impending release of an unauthorized Beyonce biography left him shaken.

"I was blindsided by the news of Becoming Beyoncé coming out and it couldn't come at a worse time for me," Hay said. "I'm currently releasing projects with my label Urban Hitchcock through Tidal, a company that is owned by Jay Z and Beyoncé... Hopefully this news hasn't ruined that relationship for me."

Well, that's just awkward. Hopefully for his sake, Jay and Bey will consider it water under the bridge. I wouldn't blame Bey if she did decide to hold a grudge though: according to Taraborelli's biography, the Rihanna rumor was the reason she and Jay went their separate ways for nearly a year back in 2005.

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