LeAnn to Play Host

04/16/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

LeAnn Rimes

LeAnn Rimes

One week after her stepmother, Catherine Dickenson Rimes, publicly dissed her in a Tennessee newspaper for being "manipulative" and a "spoiled person," country superstar LeAnn Rimes, 18, has signed on to host the 36th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, ACM director Fran Boyd has announced. The ceremony is scheduled to air live on CBS on May 9. "We are delighted to have LeAnn Rimes as our host for this year's show," Boyd said in a statement. "She has proven herself to be an impressive and enduring performer in country music." In an interview with the Tennessean, Catherine Rimes had released taped phone conversations between LeAnn and her father, Wilbur Rimes, whom she had sued in order to break a recording contract he had brokered on her behalf. LeAnn also told Wilbur in the courtroom, "I hate you." The tapes revealed LeAnn's satisfaction with her current release, "I Need You," contrary to public statements the singer had made, as well as a plan to win the judge's sympathy by crying in the courtroom during litigation to nullify her record contract. Only a few days ago, LeAnn thanked her fans online for their continued support during what she called a "difficult time" in her life.

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