Pop singer Tulisa Contostavlos is suing The Sun over a story in which she was branded a “home-wrecker” by the former partner of footballer Danny Simpson.
Simpson, who played for Newcastle United at the time, is also suing the paper over the article, which appeared on the front page on 16 November 2012.
In court on Friday, Gavin Millar QC, for The Sun, denied that the article – headlined “Tulisa has stolen my bloke.. and I’m 3 months pregnant” – was defamatory of the singer.
Millar told the High Court in London that the story was reporting on the opinion of Simpson’s partner of two years, Stephanie Ward, who was pregnant with his second child.
He said the article was not defamatory of Contostavlos (pictured above: Reuters) because it did not state that she knew of Simpson's relationship with Ward.
Contostavlos took issue with the use of the word “stolen” in the headline, but Millar said that the use of this word was open to interpretation and pointed to its use in love songs and blues music.
Manuel Barker, for Contostavlos, told the court that the article was “nudging and winking and inviting inference”.
He said: “The plain message being given to readers is Tulisa knows the score, to put it in tabloid terms.”
He suggested that tabloid newspapers write stories about “angels and villains” and that Contostavlos was being portrayed as a villain – more so than Simpson.
He said that the use of the word “affair” implied “infidelity and adultery” – a claim the defence denied, saying it was being used as a term to describe a general romance.
Barker also pointed to the fact that Ward claimed the pair had been together in her bed, implying, according to the claimant, that Contostavlos would have known about their relationship.
Millar denied that the article stated the pair had been in the home of both Simpson and Ward, and that it could have just been the footballer's house.
Millar claimed Contostavlos’s counsel was inferring more from the article than would have been by an ordinary reader of The Sun.
The case is ongoing.