Clay Doubts Corey's Story
RALEIGH, N.C., May 5, 2005
(CBS) Clay Aiken, who shot to fame from his run on "American Idol," says claims by fellow 2003 "Idol" contestant Corey Clark of an affair with singer and "Idol" judge Paula Abdul are "hard to believe."
Clark's assertions were aired on the ABC News program "Primetime Live" Wednesday night.
But on The Early Show Thursday, Aiken told co-anchor Rene Syler, "It's a shocker that I think a lot of us (from that "Idol" season) have been hearing about for the past week, preparing ourselves for. Last night kind of threw a lot of curveballs our way. …To come to accept it is going to be a little difficult, I think."
Aiken lived in the "American Idol" house with several other top contestants, including Clark, but says he "absolutely" didn't sense anything improper going on between Clark and Abdul.
"I think that's what's really, really strange," he says. "I think a lot of the stuff that we heard last night was somewhat circumstantial. I believe…a lot of it is hearsay.
"We couldn't leave the house without checking out. We couldn't come back in without checking back in. I didn't get to see my momma! So it was a very secure situation. And none of us really expected this.
"For me, it's hard to believe at this point. …I know both parties involved. …I guess I'm biased in some ways. It's kind of my nature to believe Paula, who I know to be a nurturing and caring person. She was like that for everybody on the show. She was always the judge who was willing to give advice and willing to be supportive and willing to be nurturing. So I think that's just her nature."
Aiken also threw some cold water on phone records showing lengthy conversations, supposedly between Abdul and Clark: "I didn't see any information that proved that that was her phone number. I didn't see anything at all.
"I guess part of it was circumstantial, the whole Sprint-PCS story, where the (ABCNews) reporter said a number of the employees at the Sprint-PCS store were willing to say that Paula and Corey came in together to buy a phone. But we didn't hear from that person. …People backing up the story were Corey's personal friends, and Corey's family. And I kind of -- I don't know what the track record is. I don't think it's gleaming."
And what does he make of the recording of the phone call of a woman, purportedly Abdul, urging Clark not to go public with his allegations?
"I do believe that was Paula's voice," Aiken says. "I kind of think if I were in the situation and was reading…that you (Syler) were writing a tell-all book about me, I wouldn't believe -- I would kind of automatically assume that, 'Rene wouldn't do something like that. Let me call Rene and see what's going on.' I would assume they were making up a story or rumor about you, yourself. So I think I would probably call up and say, 'Rene, what's going on?' I think that's what I heard last night, Paula calling Corey and saying, 'What's going on? I imagine they're trying to stir something up.' "
If Clark's story turns out to be true, what should happen to Abdul?
Aiken wouldn't even go there: "It's kind of hard for me to speculate at that point. I believe Paula is an amazing asset to the show. I believe the show wouldn't be the same without her. So that's going to have to be my answer, because I kind of have a hard time believing it myself."