John Travolta is said to be furious after a US gossip website published claims that he had sex with men in saunas.

Gawker.com published claims made by Robert Randolph, who plans to release a tell-all book about the star – and other celebrities – having alleged gay affairs.

According to Gossipcop, Travolta’s lawyer Marty Singer has demanded that the story be removed immediately and a prominent retraction issued.

In a letter sent to Gawker, Singer accused the site of publishing “blatant defamatory lies” from a “patently unreliable source” and said Randolph had admitted suffering “permanent brain damage” in 2003.

Singer said that Randolph’s claims “go back fifteen years, yet inexplicably, he has waited until now to peddle these phony tall tales”.

He added that the idea of Travolta committing adultery in public repeatedly was “absolutely ridiculous”.

Gawker, which is known for refusing to budge on contentious stories, listed Randolph’s claims in detail and said: “Most media outlets. . . were too shy to delve into the steamy details. We’re not quite as timid.”

Singer wrote that this claim was “significantly compounding the damages” incurred by Travolta. At the time of publication, the website had not removed the story.

The letter was sent shortly before Travolta’s wife of 20 years, Kelly Preston, gave birth to their third child.