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Last Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005, 11:45 GMT
Actress Hatcher wins libel payout
Teri Hatcher
Teri Hatcher has won many awards for her Desperate Housewives role
Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher has accepted "very substantial" libel damages over allegations made in a tabloid newspaper.

The Daily Sport also agreed to publish a front-page apology over the sex claims made in articles published on 25 July and 3 August.

David Hirst, defending, said the newspaper apologised for the distress caused by the "entirely false" stories.

The damages figure was not disclosed at the High Court hearing in London.

I will never allow any tabloid to so egregiously attack the area of my life which I give top priority, and that is my parenting
Teri Hatcher

Ms Hatcher, who has been nominated for a Golden Globe award for her role as Susan Mayer in the hit US series, was not in court on Friday.

Her lawyer, Simon Smith, told the judge, Mr Justice Tugendhat: "The grossly defamatory allegations are entirely false, deeply offensive and utterly without foundation."

'Extremely insulting'

He said Ms Hatcher - who has a seven-year-old daughter - found the claims "extremely insulting".

Mr Smith added: "As a mark of its regret, the defendant has since agreed to publish a prominent front-page apology and to enter into this statement to unequivocally apologise for the deep distress and acute embarrassment caused by its allegations, which it acknowledges were completely false.

"The defendant has also agreed to pay very substantial damages to the claimant for the libel and to reimburse the claimant's legal costs in full."

Mr Hirst told the judge the Daily Sport had received the story from a "trusted" source but now fully accepted the story was false.

"The defendant was not alone in publishing the allegations, but accepts that this does not relieve it of liability for its own publication."

'Fight back'

In a statement released after the hearing, Ms Hatcher said: "Anyone who has ever entered a legal proceeding knows that when you are totally in the right, it still takes a lot of energy to move forward this kind of proceeding.

"This is probably why more celebrities do not fight back against every made-up story - from who they date, to where they shop, and what they eat.

"But when a story appeared about me, insinuating that I am an irresponsible and neglectful parent, I had to draw the line. I will never allow any tabloid to so egregiously attack the area of my life which I give top priority, and that is my parenting."

Ms Hatcher's lawyers, Schillings, said US tabloid magazine National Enquirer had apologised for publishing a similar story.

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