The Daily Telegraph has apologised and agreed to pay substantial damages to US First Lady Melania Trump after claiming she only advanced in her modelling career because of her husband.
The Telegraph’s Saturday magazine, published on 19 January this year, featured a cover story headlined: “The mystery of Melania,” which the newspaper has now said “contained a number of false statements which we accept should not have been published”.
In a correction issued on Saturday, a week after the original article, the newspaper said it had been asked to make clear that the First Lady’s father “was not a fearsome presence and did not control the family”.
The original article claimed the First Lady had left her university design and architecture course over an exam, when in fact she left because she wanted to pursue a career as a successful model, the correction said.
It went on: “Mrs Trump was not struggling in her modelling career before she met Mr Trump, and she did not advance in her career due to the assistance of Mr Trump.
“We accept that Mrs Trump was a successful professional model in her own right before she met her husband and obtained her own modelling work without his assistance.”
The correction also clarified that the First Lady did not cry on election night, that she met her husband in 1998 and not 1996, as the article claimed, and that her mother, father and sister did not relocate to New York in 2005 to live in buildings owned by Donald Trump.
“We apologise unreservedly to the First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations,” the Telegraph added.
“As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs.”
The Mail story also included claims she met her husband three years before they “staged” a first encounter.
The ex-model has also previously settled a libel lawsuit with a US blogger who published a story containing rumours she had previously worked as an “escort” and that she suffered a “nervous breakdown” because of the presidential campaign.
Picture: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst