Marie Claire secures Beckham affair scoop

Marie Claire: eight-page feature

Marie Claire nearly had its exclusive interview with Victoria Beckham scuppered by a tabloid after a journalist tried to obtain copies while it was still at the printer.

In the interview, she spoke for the first time about allegations that David Beckham had had an affair.

The glossy had lined up a fashion shoot and interview linked to the release of her new single, months before allegations of David Beckham’s affairs came to light.

Marie Claire editor Marie O’Riordan said she expected Victoria Beckham to pull out when all the stories about her marriage broke, but when she agreed to go ahead with the shoot, the glossy went to great lengths to protect the scoop.

“It was all fine until last week, when we got a call from the printer saying that a hack had been sniffing about offering money to whoever spoke to him,” O’Riordan said. “Obviously the printer had sent this guy packing. To be honest, we predicted it would happen because we knew it was a hot story and it would be in the interest of a tabloid to nick it if they could and we made a lot of legal and security arrangements with the printer to ensure it was secure.”

The eight-page feature, including a full interview by former Smash Hits! editor Kate Thornton, appears in the issue out this week.

Marie Claire struck a deal with The Sunday Times to give it a preview of the interview. The rest of the media quickly followed it up.

O’Riordan said Victoria Beckham was not given copy approval, but that Marie Claire had entered into a contractual arrangement which prevented her from discussing its contents further. She said she was “completely happy” with the journalistic integrity of the piece. “I think she probably thought it was a safe environment in which to talk about it.

We’re clearly not a tabloid paper and if you want to set the record straight, you can do it through the pages of a glossy magazine you have an association with. I think she sees Marie Claire as a trusted brand that she has dealt with before.”

The coverage was also a welcome relief to Marie Claire’s publisher IPC, which has been trying to reverse its sales decline with a series of size and price tests across the UK.

By Ruth Addicott

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