American pop star Justin Timberlake on Wednesday won substantial libel damages from a British tabloid that claimed he had an affair behind his girlfriend’s back.
The News of the World paper claimed Timberlake, whose girlfriend is Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz, had an affair with model Lucy Clarkson while he was in Britain at the end of 2003 to promote his album “Justified”.
But at London’s High Court on Wednesday, the paper admitted the July 2004 story was fabricated and agreed to pay undisclosed substantial damages and said it would run a prominent apology.
The paper printed an interview with Clarkson, saying the model revealed their secret liaison.
Timberlake’s lawyer Simon Smith told the court none of the story was true.
“The story she sold was something she had fabricated. She lied to the News of the World,” he said.
'A tabloid has been caught lying'Initially, the News of the World stated publicly it would prove the allegations were true but now accepted all the allegations were false, Smith said.
Following the ruling, Timberlake attacked the tabloid press. His spokesman Ken Sunshine said: “Yet again, a tabloid has been caught lying.”
“Thankfully the judicial process worked, but how many cases like this will it take before these tabloids feel obligated to print the truth? Have they no shame?” he added.
Lawyers for both the News of the World, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire, and Clarkson apologized for the distress and embarrassment they had caused. Clarkson agreed to pay a sum equal to that she had agreed to receive from the paper.
Timberlake, who rose to fame with boy band ’N Sync, said he would donate the libel damages to charity.