John Legend says that screenshots shared by fashion designer Michael Costello of alleged bullying messages sent to Costello by Chrissy Teigen in 2014 are fake.
The singer said on Friday that Costello fabricated the screenshots of a direct message exchange with Legend's wife in a lengthy Instagram post Costello shared on Monday in which he said Teigen's bullying has resulted in ongoing trauma.
Costello wrote that he's "depressed and has thoughts of suicide" seven years after online interactions with Teigen. His remark came after Teigen had issued a lengthy apology on Medium for her past tweets.
Legend referred to a story by Insider on Friday that reports discrepancies in the images of the screenshots that could indicate they were faked. TODAY has not verified the direct message exchanges between Costello and Teigen.
"Chrissy apologized for her public tweets, but after her apology, Mr Costello fabricated a DM exchange between them," Legend tweeted on Friday. "This exchange was made up, completely fake, never happened."
A missing blue check mark, different background colors and the presence of a video chat icon could all indicate the screenshots were fabricated, according to Insider.
TODAY reached out to Costello for comment but has not received a reply. In a statement to E! News published Friday afternoon, Costello's rep denied the allegations, saying, "The fact that Chrissy Teigen's team is desperately trying to prove the DM's are fake and attempts to discredit Michael Costello, a victim of trauma and bullying by Chrissy Teigen both online and offline, confirms that she remains the same bully, despite her public apology."
Teigen, 35, addressed Costello's claims specifically Friday afternoon as well in a statement shared to her Instagram and Twitter. "Chrissy is completely surprised and and disappointed by Michael Costello's recent attack, which includes fictional 'screenshots' from 2014 of supposed private messages that Chrissy did not send," her statement read, in part.
Costello, 38, said on Instagram that Teigen and stylist Monica Rose threatened to not work with any people or brands that worked with Costello, resulting in damage to his career. TODAY reached out to a spokesperson for Rose who said she did not have a comment.
Costello's Instagram page was changed to private on Friday, taking his post with the screenshots of the alleged exchange with Teigen from public view.
He wrote that his initial interaction with Teigen came from what he said was a Photoshopped comment floating around online alleging that he used a racial slur. He said the image was false and eventually taken down by Instagram.
TODAY has confirmed that Instagram did not have a fact-checking policy in 2014 that would've resulted in the alleged image being taken down. This policy began in 2019.
In the screenshots that Costello shared on Instagram, a reply labeled as being from Teigen refuses to call Costello, saying "No! I do not have anything to say to you. You will get what's coming to you."
A screenshot of a subsequent alleged reply by Teigen says, "Racist people like you deserve to suffer and die. You might as well be dead. Your career is over, just watch."
Legend says everything in the screenshots is made up.
"Honestly I don’t know why anyone would fake DMs to insert themselves in this narrative, but that’s what happened," he tweeted. "I encourage everyone who breathlessly spread this lie to keep that same energy when they correct the record."
On Friday, Teigen commented about the claims of the screenshots being fake, adding alleged screenshots of her own that seemingly show private messages Costello sent her over the years.
"Michael, you are now causing actual pain to people who are trying to better themselves," she wrote on Instagram. "Enough. Or this WILL go further. Not here, but an actual court of law. And every dime we win will go to an anti bullying charity focused on turning this shit show into a positive. I wish you peace and healing. I have some places I’ve been attending if you’d like the connects."
Earlier this week, Teigen apologized for past online behavior in her Medium post. "I was a troll, full stop," she wrote. "And I am so sorry."
She also wrote in her post that she will be stepping back from social media to spend time with her family. "We are all more than our worst moments," she wrote. "I won’t ask for your forgiveness, only your patience and tolerance. I ask that you allow me, as I promise to allow you, to own past mistakes and be given the opportunity to seek self improvement and change."