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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — It’s not his health but a family feud that is bothering George Jones.
The 80-year-old country star posted a video message on his website Wednesday, thanking fans as he recovers from an upper respiratory infection. He then accused his daughter Georgette Lennon of spreading lies about him on the Internet.
He was hospitalized for nearly a week last month and had to postpone shows.
“I would like to apologize for my daughter Georgette and her new husband for putting so much bad things about me on the Internet and Facebook,” said Jones in the video. “None of these things are true. They are all about money. I have gave and gave until I can no longer give. I will never let her go hungry, but I am tired of putting out, and I am not the person they claim I am.”
Lennon, 41, said she is “completely devastated” by his message and denies making any negative statements about him. Lennon’s mother was country singer Tammy Wynette, who died in 1998.
“All I’ve ever wanted is to have a relationship with my dad and for him to know how much I love him and for him to love me and want to be a part of my life,” she told The Associated Press. “I had hoped that we could resolve this between the two of us privately and at some point he would talk to me. Unfortunately, things have escalated even further.”
Lennon said their relationship became strained a couple years ago when she became friends with her two brothers from Jones’ second marriage. She said Jones had a falling out with his two sons about 20 years ago, and does not communicate with them.
She said her relationship with her father reached a breaking point last year when she was planning her Oct. 29 wedding. Her brothers were OK with not attending if it meant Jones would be there to give her away, but Lennon said she never got an answer from Jones until she saw on his website he had booked a gig on the same day. Her 18-year-old twin sons walked her down the aisle.
“It’s been heartbreaking. When I lost my mom 14 years ago, I realized at that point in my life how absolutely short life is and you’re not guaranteed anything, not another day. My father and I hadn’t spoken in over a year at that point, and that’s when I really decided I wanted to make an effort to try to mend things,” she said. “My family means the world to me, and that includes my dad, and I would never say anything negative about him or (his fourth wife) Nancy...I hope at some point he will sit down and listen to me and that we can talk this out and be a family again.”
Lennon believes that people have been lying to her dad about what they have seen on her Facebook account and elsewhere.
“He’s been told that I have sold stories to tabloids, which obviously I have not done and I can prove that I haven’t done that. I’ve never wanted money or anything from my father,” she said.
With Jones’ recent health scare, Lennon tried to reach out to no avail, and she is afraid she offended him again. She heard from a friend of the family that Jones had pneumonia and told that to fans online, asking them to send prayers his way. Jones’ publicist insisted that he had only an upper respiratory infection.
She said she was not trying to make it look like he was sicker than he was or cause problems with future concert dates and ticket sales.
Lennon acknowledges the high price of fame has taken its toll on her father.
“In the past, there have been family members and there have been good friends and there have management and people on all scales of life who have taken advantage of him, and they have stolen from him and they have been nice to his face and then stabbed him in the back when he turned and walked away. So I know for him it’s been very difficult to know who to trust even in your family, and that’s a very sad and horrible thing to have to face.”
Jones is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and is known for dozens of classic country hits like “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” and “White Lightning.”