Kordell Stewart says his superstar career as a Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was derailed by wild claims he hooked up with a trans woman in a seedy park.
But in a shocking twist, the NFL alum, now 44, actually wants to thank the person who spread the vicious rumor in his new memoir, Truth: The Kordell Stewart Story.
"If the person who started the rumor ever reads this, I want to extend a warm and gracious 'thank you,'" the ex-husband of The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Porsha Williams writes. "Because that rumor ultimately helped me grow and become the man I am today."
As Radar previously reported, Stewart says he was simply watching a movie at home one night in 1998 when he got the call from a friend who said he heard the pro athlete had been arrested for performing "lewd acts" with a "transvestite" in Pittsburgh's Schenley Park.
He vehemently denies all of the allegations.
"What bugged me about the rumor was that it just wasn't true," he insists. "Most people, I'd assume, would have a problem if things were being said about them that were just not true."
Nearly 20 years later, Stewart has his own theory of how the outrageous claims spread like wildfire around his team, the NFL, and the entire country.
"The rumor was fabricated because someone was frustrated with my play on the field," he explains. (Just days prior, the star made a major fumble on the field during a big game against Tennessee.)
Though the whispers faded away over the years, they returned with a vengeance when Stewart's ex-wife Williams, 35, claimed her husband refused to have sex with her during their two-year marriage.
"I put on my lingerie, I worked out, I kept my body up and I felt like, hey, what is going on?" she said on a 2013 episode of RHOA.
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