The publicity-shy husband of popstar Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (pictured, Reuters) has won damages from Heat, the second magazine he has sued in recent months.
Businessman Jean Bernard Fernandez-Versini, who married the 31-year-old singer – better known as Cheryl Cole – in July, previously won damages from Reveal magazine in October after it did a profile of him.
He sued publisher the National Magazine Company for invasion of privacy and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.
And now Fernandez-Versini has accepted damages from Bauer, the publisher of Heat, in addition to an apology.
His solicitor, Callum Galbraith, told the High Court today: “Despite his wife’s fame, [he] is not and has no desire to be a public figure.
“He has deliberately chosen not to court the media and has actively sought to avoid publicity for himself and his family, particularly since his marriage.
“Insofar as he is able and notwithstanding his changed circumstances, he wishes to continue to be a private individual.
“The fact if his marriage to a well-known individual does not mean his right to a private and family life can be ignored.”
The businessman’s latest complaint relates to an article about him and his wife from August, with a front page headlined “This time Cheryl’s in charge”. It claimed that the X Factor judge had paid for her own wedding ring and that her mother was to live with the couple.
In a four-page spread, Heat “speculated about what happened prior to and during [his] wedding although it acknowledged the wedding had been ‘secret’”. Galbraith noted: “It also went on to comment upon how the married couple would live in the future.”
Fernandez-Versini said the coverage had caused him “upset and distress” and was also critical that the title did not put the claims to him to comment on.
Galbraith said: “Heat has undertaken not to republish the article and it has also agreed to pay [Fernandez-Versini] damages and contribute to his legal costs.”
Tom Rudkin, for the defence, said: “[Heat] wishes to express its regret for the upset which the article caused [Ferndandez-Versini] and it unreservedly apologises to him.”
In October, the court heard that Reveal’s spread across three pages, detailed his childhood, his life in France where he was brought up, and made public information about his father, late mother, their personal finances, relationships and feelings about each other.
The publisher accepted that the article invaded his privacy, apologised and agreed to pay substantial damages and his legal costs.