Is she or isn’t she? Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat spoke out Wednesday to deny RadarOnline.com’s report that she had shared an “intense” connection with Antonio Banderas before his divorce from Melanie Griffith, claiming that the man who made those claims, stylist Ivan Bitton, was practically a stranger. But now, a furious Bitton is firing back with text proof of his close friendship with Sherawat — and claims that she is still pursuing a relationship with newly single Banderas!
Bitton first told Radar in 2012 that Sherawat and Banderas felt sparks during a yacht party in Cannes. “You could tell Antonio was hot for Mallika, and she was flattered, but she would NEVER get involved with a married man, it’s totally not her thing," Bitton said at the time.
And on Wednesday, he claimed to Radar that Banderas whisked Sherawat off for a European vacation following their dance floor encounter. “It was just the two of them,” Bitton said. “He took her without the wife knowing. He really made sure that this was a very discreet trip.”
Much to Bitton's surprise his BFF then spoke out to E! News to deny the claims, saying, "Ivan Bitton is not my best friend. I hired him as a stylist at Cannes and then fired him. I'm sure he released the video. I don't know what he's even talking about now. I haven't been in touch with Ivan since I fired him. Whatever he's saying about me is ridiculous."
Now, Bitton has turned over text messages with Sherawat, which Radar has independently verified, in an attempt to clear his name, and shed insight into what he calls her "obsession" with the Latin actor.
The series of text messages between Sherawat and Bitton reveal the two were friends, until — he claims — she publicly denied their relationship and her connection to Banderas.
"I am deeply saddened that Mallika Sherawat has chosen to throw away years of friendship just to save face," Bitton tells Radar. "Understandably Mallika wants to distance herself from a situation she herself created and chose to do so by throwing me under the bus, claiming that she hasn't spoken to me since 'firing me' two years ago."
"Why she would say something like that is beyond me,” he said, "knowing that I have hundreds upon hundreds of text messages, daily phone calls, photos and videos from around the world that prove that her and I have been seeing and talking to each other everyday for the past five years — including six messages yesterday alone!"
Indeed, the text messages suggest that Sherawat knew her friend would be talking to the media about her relationship with Banderas. In addition, they appear to prove she lied in her statement to E! News.
READ an excerpt from the text messages:
Sherawat: Should I tweet Radar's story saying Leave Me Alone. That way it serves our purpose and we don't look bad.
Bitton: What do you mean?
Sherawat: If I tweet story without any caption it looks like I am tweeting it for publicity. Tweeting wt that caption I think works. Leave me alone and I put a link to radar on line.
Sherawat: That way I am saying leave me alone to ths media!!
But Sherawat decided to take matters into her own hands and speak out. After telling E! News she barely knew Bitton, Radar has learned that on June 26 she sent him a text that read, "I don't want stupid article to create any misunderstanding between us. i had nothing to do with it..We are both adults and we can deal wt problems in an adult dignified way. You told me to tell them that you were my stylist and I fired you. And that's exactly what I did. But I understand u r upset, i just wanted to tell u that's a side of story. That's all. I will leave you alone. You hanging up on like that is very rude. I love you very much and wouldn't want stupid exaggerated stories in media spoiling our friendship. And remember any publicity is good publicity."
Now, Bitton tells Radar he has a warning for Banderas — Sherawat wants him, bad!
"Mallika has been entertaining the idea of a relationship with Antonio Banderas to draw attention to herself in the Indian press,” he claims. "As a matter of fact, Mallika texted Antonio's agent upon her return from Cannes a few weeks back, asking him to set up a secret meeting with Antonio, and suggesting to the agent that Antonio is the one who asked to meet with Mallika in private back in Los Angeles.”