Heat agrees libel settlement with Timberlake and Biel after Irish legal action over 'flirty photos' story

American showbiz couple Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel (pictured: Reuters) have settled a lawsuit against celeb weekly Heat after suing the title in Dublin over a story which alleged the singer had "got flirty" with another woman in a nightclub.

Singer Timberlake and his actress wife lodged a defamation claim in Ireland against the publishers of Heat magazine over an article, photographs and quotes attributed to Biel, who starred in Total Recall.

The lawsuit was lodged in the High Court in Dublin against the magazine's publishers, the German Bauer Media Group, over the 6 September edition of Heat.

The court heard the article was based on an unfounded report regarding Timberlake's alleged behaviour at a birthday party in the club after one of his shows.

Timberlake and Biel have been married for two years.

At a brief hearing before Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, President of the High Court, lawyers for the couple confirmed a settlement had been reached.

The Bauer group issued an unreserved apology.

The couple's solicitor, Paul Tweed, read a brief statement outside the court, but declined to divulge any details of a financial settlement.

"Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are very satisfied with this categoric retraction of what was a false and unfounded story, together with the comprehensive apology from Bauer Consumer Media, the publishers of Heat magazine," Tweed said.

"The couple will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter, but will not hesitate to take similar legal action if false allegations regarding the state of their marriage are repeated."

Timberlake and Biel's defamation claims were lodged about a fortnight ago.

The action was taken in Dublin as the weekly celebrity magazine is sold in Ireland as well as countries across Europe.

In the agreed statement read in the High Court, a lawyer for the Bauer group admitted the article – headlined "Justin Timberlake gets flirty with another woman, it is not his wife!" and "The flirty photos that rocked Justin and Jessica's marriage" – was based on an unfounded report.

The article also included purported statements improperly attributed to Biel which the publishers said Heat now understood the actress never made.

"The article was based on an unfounded report regarding Justin Timberlake's alleged behaviour at a club following a performance in Paris, to celebrate a birthday and also included a number of purported statements improperly attributed to Jessica Biel, which Heat now understands had never been made by her," the statement said.

"The defendant accepts that the article was false and withdraws any inferences that questioned the state of Justin and Jessica's marriage.

"The defendant regrets any embarrassment caused to the couple and unreservedly apologises to them."

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