Belfast Telegraph

Reporter settles Styles story case

Showbiz journalist Caroline Whitmore has settled her libel case over a newspaper story linking her to pop star Harry Styles.

ITV Granada's entertainment correspondent accepted undisclosed damages, an apology and payment of her legal costs from News Group Newspapers.

She complained about a story in The Sun, in July, headlined "Harry and cougar No 3", which appeared after she interviewed boy band One Direction in Liverpool.

During the interview, Mrs Whitmore, who is in her early 30s, was kissed on either cheek by 18-year-old Styles, who previously dated TV presenter Caroline Flack and allegedly a DJ - both aged 32.

Mrs Whitmore's advocate, Julia Varley, told Mr Justice Tugendhat at London's High Court today that some readers understood that in referring to Mrs Whitmore as a "cougar" and linking her to Mr Styles, it was suggesting she had behaved inappropriately by pursuing a relationship with a considerably younger man.

Ms Varley said: "Such reading was particularly damaging and distressing to Mrs Whitmore, since she has been with her husband for 17 years and married for the last two.

"The article has also been repeated and expanded upon widely by the worldwide media. As a result, Mrs Whitmore has been the subject of abuse on the internet, including on her Twitter page."

She added that The Sun had stated its article was intended as light-hearted and no such meaning was intended, but the matter had now been promptly and amicably resolved.

Afterwards, Mrs Whitmore said in a statement: "I am delighted that this has been resolved and I can now focus on my work at ITV."

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