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The Weeknd has responded to speculation surrounding his new TV show, The Idol.
In the upcoming HBO drama, the singer-songwriter - real name Abel Tesfaye - plays a self-help guru/leader of a modern-day cult who begins a complicated relationship with a rising popstar, as portrayed by Lily-Rose Depp.
Earlier this year, co-creators The Weeknd and Sam Levinson were hit with claims that the production had been plagued with problems, but in a new chat with Jeremy O. Harris for the latest issue of Interview magazine, the Canadian star insisted he and Lily-Rose were able to be "vulnerable" on the set.
"We got to both just be free and vulnerable because we had a great leader," he stated. "We had somebody that made us feel comfortable and safe, like we're all creating something that we could look back on and be proud of. And so big shout-out to Sam and that whole crew. You know Sam, that's your twin. That's family right there."
The Weeknd went on to insist that he has a "thick skin" but feels bad for other people within the production who were caught up in the rumours.
"When it affects other people it hurts me a little bit. That's what I'm learning about the film business, is that when people start rumours, it really does hurt a lot of other people. A lot of people work hard on these projects. When I'm in my world, and you guys are coming at me, it's like, alright, cool. I'm a big boy. I can figure it out. But you have 200 people working hard on a project like this, that hurts. Especially when what they're saying is far from the truth, but, what can you do?" the 33-year-old asked.
The Idol, also featuring Troye Sivan, Eli Roth, Hari Nef, and Hank Azaria, is set to premiere via HBO on 4 June.