Hugh Grant today accepted undisclosed libel damages to bring to an end a libel action he had launched against the Mail on Sunday over a story in February which a judge was told alleged that while in a relationship with Jemima Khan he had "conducted a flirtation with a senior female Warner Bros executive."
The article was followed by pieces in the Mail on Sunday's sister paper, the Daily Mail, Grant's solicitor, Simon Smith told Mr Justice Charles Gray that the Mail on Sunday article was headed "Hugh, Drew and the Jealousy of Jemima."
He said that it claimed that Grant had pretended to Ms Khan that his regular late night calls with the Warner Bros executive were simply to discuss a movie but that Ms Khan had been so distressed she had barely eaten for weeks. It was said to have finally destroyed Grant's relationship with her.
Then, said Mr Smith the Daily Mail carried a story entitled "Guess Hugh's free to join Liz at her wedding after all and asserted that Grant would be making a speech and acting as an usher. He said the article claimed that Grant's action over the wedding had amounted to "a nail in the coffin" and "the last straw" and had caused their relationship to end.
A few days later another article appeared about Grant claiming he resented having to promote his films.
Mr Smith said that at no stage were any of the allegations or factual assertions put to Grant and continued : "The truth is that all the allegations and factual assertions are false."
He said that Grant did not know a woman from Warner Bros matching the description given, let alone having conducted a flirtation with her.
"As far as he is aware she simply does not exist," said Mr Smith.
As far as Liz Hurley's wedding was concerned he said this had not been the cause of the end of the relationship between Grant and Ms Khan.
And, in respect of the third article complained of he said Grant was a professional actor and went to great lengths to promote films in which he had a lead role. He did not resent having to do so.
"The publication of these numerous false assertions and allegations in quick succession has caused hurt, embarrassment and distress to the claimant and damage to both his personal and professional reputation," said Mr Smith.
He said Associated Newspapers, publishers of the two papers, had now offered their apologies to Grant, agreed not to repeat the allegations and had agreed to make a donation of undisclosed damages to the Marie curie Cancer Care charity. It would also pay Grant's legal costs.
He told the judge that in those circumstances Grant had agreed to drop the legal action.
Grant was this week arrested on suspicion
of assault after being accused of throwing a container of baked beans at photographer Ian
Whittaker and launching verbal attack on him. Grant was questioned at Notting
Hill police station denies the allegations. He has been bailed to return next