Magazine Vanity Fair has come underfire from both former US President Bill Clinton and gay and lesbian icon Gina Gershon for an article alleging her friendship with him might have gone to the next level.

Now, in response to a letter from Gershon’s legal team denying the article’s accusations and demanding a retraction, Vanity Fair is playing hard ball, claiming the article never once suggests the two slept together.

“Todd Purdum’s article does not indicate that former president Bill Clinton had an improper relationship with Gina Gershon,” a spokesperson from the magazine said in a statement.

“The story merely examines the concerns of some of Clinton’s aides about reports of his behaviour. We don’t believe that any correction is warranted.”

While the carefully worded article does not explicitly state that Gershon and Clinton slept together, it’s fueled by rumours of questionable relationships between Hillary Clinton’s husband and Gershon and billionaire heiress Belinda Stronach, among others.

Purdum claims Clinton’s “episodic friendship” with billionaire auto-parts heiress and Canadian Parliement member Belinda Stronah has long served as fuel for tabloid rumours.

More recently, “high-end Hollywood dinner-party gossip” has linked the former president to actress Gina Gershon.

In addition, Purdum says there has been talk of several other ‘female friends’ Clinton has been rumoured to be associating with.

The letter from Gershon’s rep in response to the article reads, in part: “My client has the utmost admiration and respect for both the President and Senator [Hillary] Clinton, and she is extremely offended by the false and defamatory inference that she engaged in an adulterous relationship with the President.”

In a 2,476 word memo released on Sunday, Bill Clinton’s office vehemently attacked the Vanity Fair article’s commentary on his private relationships, his business connections and his health status.

And now, even Purdum has weighed in, saying he was “very careful to say there is no clear-cut evidence that President Clinton has done anything improper. I reject the notion that I’m making an insinuation.

“But I’m very comfortable quoting the people I quote because I know who they are, and I know that they are very senior people who have known President Clinton for a very long time and work for him at very high levels.”

So far, reps for Gershon have refused to comment on the magazine’s latest standpoint.

By Adam Higgins and Ann Turner © 2008 GayWired.com; All Rights Reserved.