celebrity

A front page was printed about Grant Denyer cheating. Here's what was going on behind the scenes.

For decades now, tabloid publications have been churning questionable stories about celebrity gossip and alleged scandal. 

Some claim certain celebrities are divorcing, having babies or surprise weddings and even finding a long-lost love child. But one of the biggest printable stories of all time are cheating scandals. Especially, ones set to shake famously strong couples. 

And in October 2021, Grant Denyer and his wife Chezzi Denyer fell victim to tabloid fodder. 

Watch: Chezzi and Grant Denyer celebrate 10 years of marriage. Post continues below.


Video via Instagram.

But they didn't back down. Instead, they called it out: and won.

Initially writing on Instagram, Grant and Chezzi criticised New Idea for their October 18 cover, which featured a paparazzi shot of Grant and his Dancing With The Stars Australia partner Lily Cornish with the words 'Grant Denyer caught out'. In the picture, it could be seen that Grant was sitting next to his dancing partner, she had her head on his shoulder, and he had his hand on her leg. 

Also on the cover was a paparazzi picture of Chezzi with a blank expression and the words 'Chezzi's heartbreak'.

At the time, Grant wrote on Instagram: "The magazine has taken the story down online, however considering the magazine is still out there in doctor's offices and dental surgeries for years to come, we feel a more permanent response is needed. And yes, we're taking this further. These magazines are ruthless and evil paddlers of lies for cash. Don't fall for it. Their behaviour towards so many, not just us, is sick."

Chezzi shared a similar sentiment, thanking their fans for reaching out to the publication and sending in complaints. "Enough is enough. Watch this space."

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The implication and suggestion from the cover, photograph and write-around was that Grant was having an extramarital affair with Lily Cornish, leaving Chezzi 'heartbroken'. But of course, this story was rather removed from the actual truth. 

Even the photographer who took the paparazzi shots ended up apologising to Chezzi, saying they had been taken out of context. 

Chezzi said at the time: "Right before this little 'she'll be right' leg pat, I was on the phone with them also consoling Lilz. Where's the pic of us FaceTiming each other? Where's the other photos with some tears? Lilz is like our adopted daughter. We grew extremely close during her month-long stay with us - we absolutely adore her! And I know full well the context of this pic and I think the headline is gross and really mean."

Chezzi and Grant then went on to clarify that Lily had personal things going on, and she was seeking "a pep talk and fatherly advice". 

In a radio interview Grant reiterated: "I've given her a tap on the leg letting her know everything's gonna be okay after we've just divulged our lives to each other as we're having a DWTS meltdown, and now I've embarrassed my family in this situation where I've not even done anything wrong."

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Grant and Chezzi immediately denied the affair allegations levelled against Grant, and in December 2021 they hired a lawyer with the intent to sue the publisher behind the magazine - instead reaching "a suitable confidential settlement outside of court," Grant later revealed.

One of the conditions as part of the settlement was the inclusion of a public apology and admission that the story and headline were false.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud: The anatomy of a fake celebrity story. Post continues after audio.


So on December 6 2021, a printed apology could be seen on the Editor's Letter page of the magazine. 

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"Apology to Grant Denyer, Chezzi Denyer and Lily Cornish: On October 18, Are Media and New Idea published an article that conveyed Grant Denyer was having an extramarital affair. The article was false. [We] acknowledge that Grant Denyer and Lily Cornish are not having an extramarital affair. They have never had an affair. Are Media and New Idea regret publishing the article... wish to sincerely apologise... for the hurt and embarrassment caused."

To celebrate the win, Grant noted on Instagram these sorts of public apologies are incredibly rare in the business of print media.

"The false, sensationalised, out of context and wrong front cover: they have admitted (which very rarely ever happens) the article was false. Writing false stories should be illegal but it's not."

Grant and Chezzi are certainly not the first couple in the public eye to experience something like this.

Even on Mamamia Out Loud, Mia Freedman shared her similar experience with a tabloid publication. 

"Years ago when I was editing Cosmo, we [my husband and I] went to a kite festival in Bondi. A week later, I got a call from a friend who worked at one of those magazines, and they said 'there's a paparazzi photographer with a series of images of you out walking, and it looks like you have got bruises on your arms and they're trying to suggest you're in an abusive relationship'."

She continued: "I didn't even have any bruises. It was not true. This is why Mamamia does not support the paparazzi economy."

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And of course the impact for Grant, Chezzi and Lily regarding the front cover and affair accusations was long-lasting.

Speaking to Stellar Magazine this week, Grant said: "It was hard going to school to pick the kids up when you think that every other mother who's there to pick up their children thinks you're the worst human in the world."

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The TV host then explained why he decided to take action over the story.

"I push the envelope a bit and I'm a little bit trickier than squeaky-clean guys like the wonderful Larry Emdur. I'm used to having stories made up about me. But it's unfair to do that to a 22-year-old girl and make her out to be some sort of home wrecker. That's why we went into a legal battle and won."

Grant concluded: "I grew up in my career being told to take every hit, but now with social media we have a voice and I don't mind holding people accountable."

Ultimately, the case may now act as a cautionary tale for tabloid media, as Chezzi noted on her Instagram to her followers.

"Thanks to each and every one of you. Without your support the three of us may not have been brave enough to take on this media giant. While we can't ever remove the front cover from circulation, we hope this sets a serious precedent for the future."

Feature Image: New Idea / Instagram/ @chezzidenyer

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