NEW YORK – Country singer Mindy McCready confirmed a long-term affair with retired pitcher Roger Clemens, who has been embroiled in a federal steroids probe, according to the New York Daily News.
"I cannot refute anything in the story," a tearful but resolute McCready told the News.
"Yes, I have known Roger Clemens for a long time," McCready said, reading from a prepared statement. "He's a kind and caring man. He's also a legendary athlete. The central topic in the debate, however, regards his professional life, not his personal life.
"There are legal matters working their way through the system that have nothing to do with me. From my point of view, that is where the focus should remain."
Earlier, the News reported that Clemens had a decade-long relationship with McCready that began when she was a 15-year-old aspiring singer and the pitcher was a Boston Red Sox ace.
Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, confirmed a long-term relationship but told the newspaper it was not sexual.
"Mindy McCready is a longtime family friend of Roger Clemens and the Clemens family," Hardin said in a statement Monday. "At no time did Roger engage in any kind of inappropriate or improper relationship with her. It is unfortunate that the Daily News has chosen to report anonymous allegations that are completely unfounded, have no basis in fact, and have nothing to do with Roger's baseball career or the issue of steroid use in baseball."
The story, which appeared on the newspaper's Web site Sunday night and in editions Monday, quoted several people who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
McCready's lawyer, Lee Ofman, said he did not have any comment on the Daily News story.
Clemens was 28 and a married father of two when he first met McCready, the newspaper reported.
The story could undermine Clemens' reputation, which is central to the defamation suit the former pitcher has filed against former personal trainer Brian McNamee. McNamee contends Clemens used performance-enhancing substances during his major league career.
"If true, it's just another example of Roger's pervasive prevarications which will be at the core of any defamation case," said McNamee's attorney, Richard Emery, in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
The newspaper said Clemens sent cash to McCready to help her with legal issues and reached out to her when she was in jail last year in Tennessee.
The 32-year-old McCready was sentenced last September for violating probation from a 2004 drug arrest and was released from jail last Dec. 30. The violation occurred in July when McCready was accused of scuffling with her mother and resisting arrest at her mother's home in Fort Myers, Fla. She still must serve two years' probation.
McCready had a No. 1 single in 1996 with "Guys Do It All the Time."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.