Irish singer Van Morrison is taking legal action against the Daily Mail in Britain after the newspaper claimed he may have fathered a child by a director of his publishing and production companies.

The newspaper yesterday revealed close links between the pair, despite Van Morrison issuing a statement that he never knew Gigi Lee (42), who recently had a baby. The singer is married to former Miss Ireland, Michelle Rocca, and they have two young children.

Morrison now admits he knows Lee, but says he is not the father of her baby. In a statement issued he said: "There is no truth in the suggestion that I have recently become a father," adding there was no "factual basis" to the claims.

"In view of an article appearing in today's 'Mail On Sunday,' I am reluctantly compelled to make this short statement. I have instructed my solicitors to institute immediately proceedings against the 'Mail On Sunday' and will take all appropriate action to prevent repetition of these allegations."

A close friend of Van Morrison told the Irish Independent that the singer is not the father. "This wouldn't be the first time somebody tried to stitch Van Morrison up and failed. He is standing by his story, that this is not his baby.

"Michelle and Van are together in this as a couple. Michelle completely believes Van is not involved and that he is being stitched up here," continued the Van Morrison source.

The allegations started with a notice on Van Morrison's website that he was the proud father of a new baby boy, George Ivan Morrison 111, born December 28. Van Morrison stated that his site had been hacked into and he did not know Gigi Lee the person named as the mother.