Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Coogan slams 'lies' about Wilson

Steve Coogan told the inquiry he never sought fame

Steve Coogan has slammed a newspaper for printing a "number of articles" which "repeated the lie" that he was somehow responsible for, or connected with, the alleged suicide attempt of Owen Wilson.

Coogan told the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking that a number of articles were printed in August and September 2007.

The pair, who are friends, appeared together in children's film Night At The Museum.

An article headlined "Steve Coogan blamed for Owen Wilson's drug spiral" was published in the Mail Online. But Coogan told the hearing that he had not been in the same continent as Owen for nine months before the incident.

He said he issued a curt denial statement but did not want to say anything more "to give legs to the story".

"I did not want to shine the spotlight on him when he was in a particularly vulnerable state," Coogan said.

He added: "They are not interested in what the facts are, they are interested in good copy."

He told the hearing that he did not wish to complain to the Press Complaints Commission, adding: "The soap opera that would ensue outweighs any benefit it would have."

Earlier in his statement, he said that he had not made a "Faustian Pact" with the press, saying: "I have never wanted to be famous, as such - fame is a by-product. Me, myself, personally, I like to keep myself private."

Coogan told the judge that some people did "use" the press. But he said he did not and was not in the "fame game".

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Your home life is undergoing big changes. Youngsters may decide the time is right to fly the nest. An elderly relative may come to live with you. You might move in with a loving partner. Whatever form this new situation takes, it will be empowering. You'll get help that was previously unavailable. If your current home can't support the lifestyle changes in your household, it is time to move. Search for a quiet hideaway where you can all rest and relax after a hard day's work.More