Stung after being rejected by James Stewart, late screen legend Marlene Dietrich started rumours that the "The Man Who Knew Too Much" star forced her to abort her baby when their affair ended, says a new book.

According to Hollywood.com, a new biography by Michael Munn, "Jimmy Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend", claims that Stewart was seduced by Dietrich but refused to shatter his good reputation by talking about it.

But after years of denying the affair he finally said, "That was such a long time ago, in another lifetime. But yeah, we had some fun together. Nothing too serious, just horsing around."

The actress supposedly took the rejection badly and started spreading rumours that Stewart had not only got her pregnant, but also forced her to abort the baby. A long-time friend of the actress, also in the book, said, "The person who started those rumours was Dietrich. I think she considered it an unpardonable sin when Jim told her it was over."