When a number of readers (40 out of 6 million) expressed concern about our featuring LeAnn Rimes on the cover of our October 2010 issue, I was concerned. I don't want anyone to be unhappy—so I took the time to write a personal note to them, apologizing for not having someone on the cover they wanted to see and hoping to do right by them the next time. (I do this many times for all cover stars and you really can't ever please everyone all the time.) I also explained why I put LeAnn on the cover: for being human, admitting to mistakes, and finding the courage and strength to overcome criticism through exercise.
Unfortunately, that personal letter to SHAPE readers was leaked out—and now, without any of the background or the reader letters that I received, it has been taken out of context. In that e-mail, I referred to words readers used ("a husband stealer", "a terrible mistake for SHAPE") in their letters to me—and then those words were then mistakenly attributed to me. (If I had known the world was going to be reading that e-mail, I would have had it proofread first!) And now, I feel even worse—for everyone involved including LeAnn.
The bottom line is this: I stand by the fact that LeAnn's story is compelling—and her courage and strength in the face of so much adversity is compelling. That is why I put her on the cover of Shape for what is now the third time.
And I will continue to believe in SHAPE readers—and the strength and honesty of all women—and will continue to respond to reader mail, because that's just the right and decent thing for someone in my position to do.