Dylan's 'Secret' Daughter

04/10/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

Gospel-rock vocalist Carol Dennis, a former backup singer for Bob Dylan, has confirmed that she was secretly married to the rock icon, 59, from 1986 to 1992 and had a daughter with him, named Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, now 15. Dennis made the admission in a statement released by her publicist late Tuesday. The admission comes in the wake of the recent publication of British author Howard Sounes's "Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan." The unauthorized bio contains the news of the relationship between Dennis and Dylan, though Dennis says that the book distorts the nature of their divorce and his relationship with his daughter. The decision to keep private their marriage and their daughter was a mutual one and made for the benefit of the child. "Bob and I made a choice to keep our marriage a private matter for a simple reason -- to give our daughter a normal childhood," Dennis said. "To portray Bob as 'hiding his daughter' is just malicious and ridiculous . . . That is something he would never do. Bob has been a wonderful, active father to Desiree."

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