Brandy's "ex-husband" Robert Smith has declared his marriage to the R+B star was a sham - claiming they cooked up the story to keep her reputation intact after she fell pregnant.

In interviews earlier this week (begs19JUL04) with New York radio stations WBLS-FM and WQHT-FM, Smith insisted that he and 24-year-old Brandy never legally wed. Rather, the couple just portrayed the notion of nuptials to preserve Brandy's image.

In early 2002, at the same time Brandy announced she was pregnant, she broke the news that she and Smith had secretly wed in the summer of 2001.

Before he began his relationship with Brandy, Smith was involved with another woman, a film producer, and initially had sustained relationships with both women. When Brandy became pregnant, the decision was made to tell people they were married, he claims.

Brandy gave birth to daughter SY'RAI, and the couple parted ways a year later.

Smith has since rekindled his romance with the film producer, and they are expecting a child in two months.

In a statement, Brandy claims she is "hurt and shocked" by music producer Smith's revelations. Instead of a legally recognised marriage, she claims they had a "spiritual union and a true commitment to each other".

She adds, "We still share a common bond through our daughter, Sy'rai. He is not thinking about her, me, or what we had together. He is trying to destroy my reputation while using me and our daughter to get publicity and radio airplay for his artists. I am stunned that he is being so dirty about it."

In reaction to Brandy's statement, Smith has issued one of his own, which reads, "My comments were in no way made to take away any responsibility from Sy'rai emotionally or financially. And in no way am I an irresponsible father.

"I have recently been granted joint custody of Sy'rai. When breaking off relationships it's always difficult, and I prefer not to air our dirty laundry through the media. I was just stating the truth.

"Brandy and I have many things to work out over a long period of time, (and) will hopefully (head) in a more positive direction."

22/07/2004 02:53