The Russian tabloid Moskovsky Korrespondent apologised on Friday for carrying a report that President Vladimir Putin is to marry a rhythmic gymnast, saying "there is no factual base for our publication".
The tabloid accepted that it cannot substantiate its report on Putin's "wedding with a famous gymnast" and apologised for the "moral pain" inflicted to the persons concerned.
In its weekend issue, the tabloid, specialising on spicy gossip about celebrities, had reported about 55-year-old Putin's "plans" to wed former Olympic rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, 25, on June 15.
Moskovsky Korrespondent had also claimed that the Russian leader had divorced his wife Lyudmila back in February, although on March 2 they were publicly seen together at the polling station to cast their vote for the presidential election.
"In our matter only some rumours and some facts, which we presumed substantiate these rumours, were reflected. To say, there is no factual base for our publication. We accept this.
"We deeply regret if the information published in our article was found by its heroes as insulting. We apologise to all those, who consider that this story has caused them moral sufferings," the paper wrote in its front-page editorial.
Earlier, Kabayeva, a member of the State Duma (lower house of Russian Parliament), through her press spokesperson Elisaveta Ovchinnikova, had categorically denied the report and had demanded the tabloid issue a denial or face libel charges.