Television presenter Kate Garraway has launched a legal battle for libel damages of £250,000 over stories in the Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror.
Garraway, who starred in Strictly Come Dancing, is suing over a series of stories in both papers describing her relationship with her co-star Anton du Beke.
She accuses the papers of putting her under extensive covert surveillance for many days, and of publishing stories about an alleged affair with du Beke despite her denials.
She claims that a Sunday Mirror front page story on February 10, headed ‘Kate & Anton .. A Late Tango”, was defamatory, and she is also suing over a website story called ‘Kate Garraway and Strictly Come Dancing partner Anton du Beke’s close friendship”.
Garraway, who is married to former Labour spin doctor Derek Draper, is suing over a follow up in the Daily Mirror headed ‘Strictly no crisis”, and a website story called ‘Kate Garraway denies marriage is in trouble over dance partner pics”.
The stories claimed that she was betraying her husband and being unfaithful to him by having an affair with Anton du Beke, which she denies, she says.
And she accuses publishers MGN of publishing stories which meant she had been reduced to putting forward a hopelessly unconvincing and false denial of her affair with her dance partner.
She alleges that the stories have seriously damaged her personal and professional reputations, and upset and distressed her.
Garraway is also seeking aggravated damages, and says the Sunday Mirror had been told before publication that she was not having an affair with du Beke. Her agent, Jon Roseman, had told Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver that the allegation was false, and continued to deny the allegation during many more conversations with Weaver that day, it is alleged.
Her PR agent Sean O’Brien phoned deputy editor James Scott and said any allegation of any affair was completely untrue, according to a High Court writ.
Another of her PR agents, Ian Weaver, emailed Weaver just after 7pm to say the pair were not having an affair, but had been working on various projects and this might have led Weaver to misconstrue any apparent closeness, the writ says.
Despite this, the Sunday Mirror ignored the denials, and published the stories without any reference to her denials, the writ claims.
The next day the Daily Mirror republished quotes from a story in the Daily Mail, in which Garraway and Draper had spoken about their marriage, the writ says.
Garraway claims the stories have caused the most invasive, hurtful and intrusive speculation about the state of her marriage, and that some photos accompanying the stories were syndicated to Associated Newspapers, and republished along with parts of the Mirror articles.
Jonathan Ross joked about the allegation she was having an affair during filming of a tribute for Bruce Forsyth’s 80th birthday, the writ says.
Eight photographs and a video were taken without her knowledge, after she was subjected to a prolonged period of continuous covert surveillance between January 18 and February 7 this year, she claims.
MGN replied to a complaint from her solicitors by offering an interim undertaking not to republish the stories, and Garraway says if MGN does not come up with a satisfactory permanent undertaking, she will seek a court injunction.