It was the rumor that would not go away -- Rihanna was romancing Jay Z behind Beyoncé’s back.
But now, at last, the rumor can be put to rest.
Jonathan Hay is a music industry publicist who says he made up the whole affair to get attention for Rihanna’s first single, "Pon De Reply," back in 2005.
He told INSIDE EDITION’s Les Trent that “it was all a publicity stunt" and they did not have an affair.
Hay makes that shocking revelation in the new book, Becoming Beyoncé, an unauthorized biography by bestselling author J. Randy Taraborelli.
"I was desperate at the time because I wanted to have a hit record,” Hay said.
The rumor caught fire at the time and Jay Z and Beyoncé, who were dating back then, broke up for a year because the “Single Ladies” singer wanted no part of a love triangle involving Rihanna, the book claims.
Trent told Hay: "She [Rihanna] was 17 years old; you picked a dangerous way to promote a new artist.”
“I agree, we were young and stupid,” he said.
Who could forget that infamous 2014 elevator fight between Jay Z and his sister-in-law Solange.
Speculation continues to this day that it started because the rapper wanted to party with Rihanna after the Met Gala in New York City.
Hay thinks the fight was real - but says the power couple exploited it to get publicity for the couple's "On The Run" tour that summer.
“I don’t think they set it up, that they're gonna stage a fight but their handlers took advantage of it,” Hay said.
Hay says he regrets ever generating that false rumor of the so-called Jay Z and Rihanna affair.
Trent asked him: “What would you say to Beyoncé and Rihanna?”
“I'd say I’m sorry,” he replied.