Ever since Samantha announced on social media that she and her husband of four years, Naga Chaitanya, are parting ways rumour mongers have been having a field day speculating the hows and the whys. But things hit a whole new low when stories linking Samantha with her stylist Preetham Jukalker started floating around. Trolls who claimed that it’s this supposed “affair” between the two that caused the rift between Chaitanya and Sam, went on to character assassinate the actress. Through it all, Samantha has maintained a dignified silence. But it’s Chaitanya’s stony silence that hurts the most, says Preetham, who is admittedly “devastated”.
“Everybody knows that I call Samantha as ‘Jiji’ which is a north Indian term for sister. How can there possibly be a link-up between us? People are commenting how I can say ‘I love you’ to her. Can’t you express love for a sister or a friend? How can people stoop so low and spread such malicious rumours when a woman is already hurting. This is just disgusting and heartbreaking,” says Preetham.
The stylist, who’s known both Samantha and Chaitanya for many years, says he’s disappointed Chay did not speak up for him. “I’ve known Chaitanya for years. He too knows the kind of relationship that Samantha and I have. I feel that he could’ve spoken up and told people not to comment like that about Sam and me. Even if he had issued one statement, it would have made a lot of difference. Right now, it’s these so-called fans who are making these statements and spreading false rumours. I think a statement from Chaitanya’s side would’ve helped keep these people in check,” says Preetham.
The stylist, who’s been a victim of malicious trolling online, says it has taken an emotional toll on him.
“I’ve been constantly receiving death threats from unknown strangers. My DMs are filled with abuses and threats. Some say that they will destroy my career, others are saying that they will kill me if I step out of my house. Some of the websites even claimed that my mom passed away, when she is very much alive. How insensitive can you get? For two days of masala, they have even killed my mom,” says Preetham, adding, “I’m not going to back down. Nothing is going to stop me from standing up for myself and my friend. Samantha is hurting right now and I will stand by her. I’m not afraid of these faceless trolls.”