"The cover in question is 100 percent fake. This began as a ridiculous Twitter joke that went viral," People magazine spokeswoman Julie Farin said Tuesday.
The imitation cover, which spread online Monday, shows a serious-faced Lautner posing with the headline "Out and Proud." The clearly manipulated cover is dated Jan 7, 2012, and shows subheadlines of photos of "Brad and Angelina in Africa."
A falsified quote under Lautner's image reads: "I'm more liberated and happier than ever."
The fake cover was so convincing it fooled fans across the Internet, fueling an influx of Twitter responses.
Even hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons was seemingly tricked by the trending cover, and he tweeted to Lautner in solidarity.
Simmons posted: "Proud of Taylor Lautner for his bravery and his courage."
Once he discovered the cover was a hoax, Simmons tweeted: "Disappointed that people would joke about someone coming out about their sexuality. Let Taylor Lautner be whoever he wants to be . . ."