January 22, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Personal to LeAnn Rimes fans, from Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell: Why can’t we be friends? Seems Harwell has been receiving death threats as a result of reports that he spat at Rimes and had her ejected from a Smash Mouth gig on Nov. 17. But he says that what actually happened at the show, a private concert for the opening of the Sega Gameworks Restaurant in Orange, Calif., was criminally misreported by both print and broadcast media. ”There were a lot of celebrities and athletes there, and LeAnn was sitting in the front row,” Harwell says. ”It was really hot, so I threw some water into the audience. She was having a great time, laughing and rocking out, so I brought her up on stage and we sang ‘Walking on the Sun,’ and I gave her a big hug. Then I asked a security guy to walk her off stage because I didn’t want her to fall. The way [the press] mangled that was just so wrong, and such a lie.” Smash Mouth subsequently sent Rimes a large spread of flowers to make up for any misunderstandings. Says Rimes of the show: ”It was all in fun and it was a great evening.”

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