By Vernell Hackett

NASHVILLE (Reuters) - Country singer Rodney Atkins has denied accusations he tried to suffocate his wife with a pillow in November and also has filed for divorce, his attorney said in a statement on Thursday.

Court records show that back on November 21, Atkins' wife of 13 years, Tammy Jo, called police and claimed he attempted to smother her with a pillow and threw her down a hallway after he had been drinking. The events took place in front of their 10-year-old son, the documents show.

Atkins was arrested by police and later released on bail.

But Atkins lawyer, Rose Palermo, issued a statement on Thursday saying the altercation was nothing more than an "unfortunate verbal dispute" between husband and wife.

"When Mr. Atkins realized their child was in hearing range of the argument, his first priority became getting out of earshot of the child," Palermo said in the statement.

Palermo called the claims by Atkins' wife, "completely untrue."

"Mr. Atkins realized that he would have no recourse but to file a complaint for divorce. Since filing the complaint...he has exercised substantial parenting time with the parties' son and he will continue to do so while the divorce is pending."

The singer's songs include "Cleaning This Gun," which looked at raising teen daughters, and his hit "Watching You." His wife appeared in his recent video for "Farmer's Daughter."

In her statement, Palermo said Atkins "requests privacy at this time" and he "wants to thank his fans for standing by him as he is confident that the truth will prevail."

Atkins is scheduled to appear on the Fox TV special, "American Country New Year's Eve Live" airing December 31. He also has three live performances scheduled in coming days in the northeastern U.S.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)




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