On the day the latest Pirates of the Caribbean went on release one of its stars Keira Knightley accepted a High Court libel pay-out and a public apology over a daily paper slur about her weight.
She received a £3,000 pay-out from Associated Newspapers over a Daily Mail story showing a picture of her in a bikini and headlined ‘If pictures like this one of Keira Carried a Health Warning, My Darling Daughter might have lived.”
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Her mother, Sharman Macdonald who was in court to hear the written statement read out said afterwards that Keira, whose legal costs will also be paid, was adding another £3,000 to the award and donating the money to a charity called BEAT which helps people with eating and mental disorders.
Solicitor Simon Smith told Mr Justice David Eady that the picture which showed Keira on holiday had been taken without her consent while she was staying in Hawaii.
He continued : ‘The article could be interpreted to have asserted that the claimant bore personal responsibility for causing the tragic death of Sophie Mazurek, a 19-year-old, who battled with anorexia.
Keira, he said had been embarrassed by the ‘entirely false’and ‘deeply offensive’suggestions in the piece.
He said the article could be taken to mean that Keira had set out to lose an excessive amount of weight by failing to eat properly and by over-exercising inappropriately because she wanted to become unnaturally thin and that she had demonstrated a reckless and foolish disregard of the obvious and serious risks to her health.
He told the judge that three days earlier the paper had published an article under the headline ‘It’s Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Keira Knightley’in which it referred to her denial that she suffered from anorexia.
Smith said that Keira accepted that she had from time to time undertaken cardio vascular and weight training for roles in action films and that this had involved muscle toning which did alter physical appearance.
However, he said her weight had never fluctuated more than a few pounds through her adult life, and remained at an acceptable level which took into account age, gender and height.
‘The claimant continues to eat healthily and maintains a regular fitness regime. However, the claimant is not a fitness fanatic, as she considers it more important and has spoken of her opinion of the need to be healthy and happy.
‘The claimant found the suggestions all the more offensive as she has freely admitted publicly in the past that a member of her family suffered from anorexia and she is well aware of the devastating effects eating disorders can have.”
Kate Wilson, counsel for Associated Newspapers said they apologised for the distress and embarrassment caused by the article and accepted that Keira bore no responsibility for the death of Sophie Mazurek.
Outside court afterwards Keira’s mother said that her own mother, Keira’s grandmother, had suffered from anorexia and that Keira had ‘tremendous sympathy’for Sophie’s family.