George Clooney has chastised a British newspaper over a "completely fabricated" article claiming his fiancee's mother disapproves of the impending marriage for religious reasons.
Clooney said Wednesday that the claims about his future mother-in-law Baria Alamuddin were untrue and irresponsible.
Clooney and London lawyer Amal Alamuddin announced their engagement in April. Beirut-born Alamuddin comes from a Druse family -- adherents of a monotheistic religion based mainly in Lebanon, Syria and Israel.
The Daily Mail cited unnamed "friends" as saying Amal Alamuddin risked being "cast out of the community" because she was not marrying a Druse man. The newspaper said "several women have been murdered" for not abiding by strict Druse rules. The article appears to have since been removed from the site.
Clooney said in a statement to USA Today that "none of the story is true. Amal's mother is not Druse. She has not been to Beirut since Amal and I have been dating, and she is in no way against the marriage."
Clooney added that "to exploit religious differences where none exist is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous."
"We have family members all over the world, and the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal," he said.
He continued, "I'm the son of a newsman; I accept the idea that freedom of speech can be an inconvenience to my private life from time to time, but this story, like so many others, is picked up by hundreds of other outlets citing the Daily Mail as their source, including Boston.com, New York Daily News, Gulf News, Emirates 24/7 and so on."
The Daily Mail did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Clooney, 53, was married to actress Talia Balsam from 1989 to 1993. This will be the first marriage for 36-year-old Alamuddin.
The Druse are a close-knit community and rarely marry outside their sect. But some Druse have welcomed Clooney.
Walid Jumblatt, political leader of the sect in Lebanon, told The Associated Press recently that he hoped the couple would soon visit the Druse heartland.
Clooney will bring us "great publicity," Jumblatt said. "He can make a movie about the Druse sect."