Daily Express £20k libel damages to Kate Beckinsale

Actress Kate Beckinsale has accepted £20,000 libel damages over a newspaper claim that she had been passed over for a role as “sexy heroine Barbarella”.

The 35-year-old star of films including Pearl Harbor, Underworld and Van Helsing was not at London’s high court for the settlement of her action against Express Newspapers.

Her solicitor, Graham Atkins, told Mr Justice Eady that the story in the Daily Express, last month, was entirely false and had caused considerable embarrassment and harm.

He added that Beckinsale was never in discussions about the film role and there was never a possibility she would be part of the project.

It followed that she had not been passed over in favour of rival Hollywood actress Rose McGowan, as the story claimed.

Atkins said that the article alleged that Beckinsale – whose latest film Everybody’s Fine is released in November – was facing “heartbreak” over the role.

The article, which was also published on the newspaper’s website, stated that the Barbarella remake was “expected to be a big commercial hit so it will be a real blow to Kate”.

Atkins added: “The film industry, particularly at the highest level in Hollywood, values actresses on the basis of them being successful and in-demand – one may say, being ‘hot property’.

“This article wrongly gave the impression that the claimant’s career is in decline which would undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on those who would be casting film roles, as well as the industry as a whole.”

The newspaper’s counsel, Ian Helme, offered its sincere apology and said it was happy to pay damages and Beckinsale’s legal fees.

Helme said that the newspaper, which acknowledged that the false allegations should never have been published, hoped that the record had been set straight and Beckinsale’s reputation restored.

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