Last week, tabloids "unmasked Ian Thorpe's mystery male friend" with a fair dose of nudge, nudge and wink, wink. On Thursday Thorpie went on the offensive and issued a statement completely rubbishing the claims he was gay. The tabloids were duly admonished.
Apparently the "proof" that Thorpe's Brazilian flatmate, Daniel Mendes, was more than a roomie was in a series of photos of the pair in the surf.
Dripping with innuendo and speculation, the reports were the sort of thing Hollywood gossip scribes of the 1950s thrived on when hunting down gays.
But Thorpe's friends had long insisted the relationship was nothing more than a "bromance" between the pair. In the old days we simply called them mates.
As Thorpe stated on Thursday: "I find this kind of inaccurate speculation tiresome and I am annoyed by the hurt it has caused those closest to me. I look forward to myself and those around me receiving the respect and privacy afforded others."
Thorpe has publicly denied rumours he is gay several times, which raised a potentially more serious question regarding the media coverage - was he now being called a liar?
Thorpe's management was well aware of the defamatory implications when PS called, but were resisting the urge to call in lawyers.
Last July those same tabloids reported Thorpe was dating a girl, quoting him saying: "She lives on the other side of the world. It's very cool but we want to see how it goes."
David Flaskas, the head of Grand Slam International, has long managed Thorpe's affairs. Last year Flaskas took on the Beijing gold medal-winning and openly gay diver, Matthew Mitcham. Flaskas told PS he did not believe Mitcham's sexuality would hinder his earnings potential.
PS first met Mendes at the Australia's Next Top Model finale nearly three years ago and he was introduced as Thorpe's friend. They have been photographed at several events since. Strangely, none of those photos sparked the same media frenzy as the one which engulfed Thorpe this week and caused so much pain.
Source:Andrew Hornery from smh.com
Champion athlete Beard has flatly denied that she and Thorpe were once lovers.
"It's baloney," her agent Evan Morganstein told The Daily Telegraph.
As speculation swirls around Mr Thorpe's friendship with his Brazilian flatmate Daniel Mendes, Beard was adamant that she and Thorpe were never an item.