Associated pays out to comedian

Comedian Rowan Atkinson has accepted damages and an apology from Associated Newspapers over allegations he was suffering from depression and “heading for a breakdown”.

Atkinson sued Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail, over articles in the respective papers on 28 December 2003 and 3 January this year, which claimed he was receiving treatment for depression in a US clinic.

His solicitor, Martin Cruddace, told the High Court: “Mr Atkinson is not and has never suffered from depression, severe or otherwise. The allegation that he spent five weeks at a clinic for treatment of depression is untrue.”

Rebecca Jackson, solicitor for Associated, added: “The defendant is happy to accept that these allegations were untrue. The defendant offers its sincere apologies to the claimant for getting these articles wrong.”

Speaking outside court, Atkinson said: “Although these allegations have been refuted, their publication was indicative of continuing stigmatising of the issue of mental health. The substantial damages we have obtained will be paid to a charitable organisation in the field of mental health.”

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