Actor Hrithik Roshan on Thursday broke his silence on the dragging row with actress Kangana Ranaut, saying he has never met her privately and asked how two "high-profile celebrities" could have had a seven-year passionate affair without any evidence.
Hrithik, son of veteran actor-filmmaker Rakesh Roshan, said that "just like a nagging health issue sometimes ignored can turn malignant, this situation for me has unfortunately turned malignant.
"The truth is, I have never met the lady in question one-on-one in my entire life. Yes, we have worked together, but there has been no meeting in private. That's the truth," he said. He added he was "not fighting against an allegation of an affair".
"I'm in fact protecting myself from something far more serious, sensitive and destructive than that," Hrithik said in a statement.
The row began last year when Kangana hinted at Hrithik being her "ex-boyfriend".
She said in an interview that she fails to understand "why exes do silly things to get your attention".
The actress lodged a legal complaint against Hrithik for "misusing" the confidential emails and photographs of the time when they were together.
Hrithik later filed a complaint with the cybercrime cell, claiming an imposter had been emailing Kangana from a bogus email ID, pretending to be him.
The mud-slinging has continued till date, with Kangana and her sister constantly accusing Hrithik.
The "Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai" star questioned: "An alleged seven-year long, passionate affair between two high profile celebrities with no trail left behind.
"No evidence, no paparazzi pictures, no witnesses, not even a memento in possession like a selfie taken at the alleged engagement which is claimed to have happened in Paris in January 2014. Nothing that constitutes an exchange or any sort of proof of a romantic relationship.
"Yet we want to believe the other party because the rhetoric is - why would a girl lie."
Hrithik also refuted talk of an alleged engagement with Kangana in Paris.
"My passport details show no travel outside the country in January 2014, which is the date that this alleged engagement supposedly took place. In Paris.
"The only so-called proof presented of this alleged 'relationship' was a photoshopped picture in the media. This was immediately exposed, the very next day by friends including my ex-wife."
Hrithik was married to Sussanne Khan, with whom he has two sons. They separated in 2014.
The actor says the investigation regarding the emails is on.
"There are 3,000 one-sided mails which either I have sent to myself or the woman in question has sent to me. The Cyber Crime department can prove or disprove either story, in just a few days. Towards that purpose, I have surrendered all my devices including laptops/phones which are still lying with the Cyber Cell, but the other party has refused to do so.
"This is not, and I repeat, not a lovers spat. I humbly request people to stop labelling it as one and, for a second, try and see it for what it really is.
"I have been harassed by this for four years and the well meaning and probably necessary social bias toward women has deemed me helpless in defending myself.
"I'm not here to accuse or judge anyone, but it's time I defend the truth because when truth suffers the collective consciousness of society suffers. Civilization suffers. Closer to home, families suffer. Children suffer."