Eastenders actress Jessie Wallace has issued libel proceedings against the publisher of celebrity magazine Reveal over a story about her relationship with co-star Letitia Dean.
Wallace, who plays Kat Moon (formerly Slater) in the BBC One soap, is seeking damages of up to £50,000 over a story published on 18 August headlined “Jessie and Letitia at war”.
In her High Court writ against publisher The National Magazine Company, seen by Press Gazette, Wallace claims the story branded her “highly professional and childish”.
It was accompanied by a picture of Wallace and Dean with the caption “Jessie is worried Letitia will replace her” and a speech bubble with the words: “Reveal says ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’”.
The story was run shortly after Dean, who plays Sharon Watts, returned to the soap in August, claiming “jealous Jessie is refusing to be friends with Letitia”.
It also claimed that “Jessie is not happy about Letitia coming back” because she is “really popular with the cast and crew and it’s put Jessie’s nose out of joint”.
An unnamed source was quoted saying: “An Eastender insider tells us: ‘You could cut the atmosphere with a knife.’”
The writ says the article meant Wallace behaved in a highly unprofessional and childish manner by deliberately snubbing Dean out of personal jealousy and paranoia she was being phased out of the show in favour of her.
It also meant her attitude created an extremely tense and difficult working environment for the cast and crew working on the programme.
As a result she has suffered serious injury to her reputation and she has suffered considerable distress, hurt and embarrassment, Wallace’s lawyers argue.
In claiming aggravated damages she will rely on the general tone of the article, the fact the allegations were of an offensive and damaging nature, and that Reveal allegedly failed to make any attempt to contact her before publication.