Emap is facing legal action from a lap dancer over allegations in Heat that she lied about having sex with Westlife star Bryan McFadden.
Amy Barker was hired to entertain Westlife on a coach trip in Ireland on McFadden’s stag night in 2001, shortly before his marriage to former Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona. In a writ issued by the High Court last week, Barker claims the star later barged uninvited into her hotel room, had sex and took cocaine and that a subsequent article in Heat made her out to be a liar.
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According to Barker, McFadden begged her not to talk to the press about what happened and she signed away any rights to talk about the episode for £15,000. But after she broke her contract by speaking to The People, an interview with McFadden appeared in Heat saying her claims were “rubbish”. In response to a question from Heat asking if any of her version of events was true, McFadden said: “No. All the stuff that followed was ridiculous. It was like I was watching a different world.”
Asked why, if he had not done anything wrong, he didn’t speak out earlier, he said: “Because it’s one person’s word against another’s. You can’t do anything about it. David Beckham went through it as well with Victoria when he was wrongly accused of cheating on her.” Barker claims in the writ that McFadden’s public insistence that it never happened destroyed her reputation and made her out to be a liar. She claims the star became “assertive and overbearing, boasting that ‘in Ireland we are Gods'” and she “reluctantly” had sex with him when he turned up unannounced in her room. She alleges that the article dismissed her version of events and portrayed McFadden as a doting husband and father, and that it suggested she “maliciously invented” the fact that McFadden had sex with her.
Media lawyer Graham Atkins told Press Gazette: “Amy is suing Emap and Bryan McFadden for libel contained in an article which appeared in Heat.” An Emap spokesperson said: “We have received a writ and will respond to it accordingly.”
By Ruth Addicott