On January 24, the UK newspaper News Of The World published a story about celebrity couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (a.k.a. Brangelina). The story claimed the couple had agreed to separate. It even went so far as to say they'd consulted a lawyer who helped them reach a settlement on the division of joint assets and custody of their six children.
This week, however, Brangelina commenced legal proceedings against the paper's owners, News Group Newspapers Limited, for invasion of privacy. Keith Schilling of Schillings, the couple's London lawyers, said:
"The News of the World failed to meet our clients' reasonable demands for a retraction of and apology for these false and intrusive allegations which have now been widely republished by mainstream news outlets. We have therefore advised them to bring legal proceedings which they have now done."
A statement on Schillings' website adds "the false allegations are being treated as a serious misuse of private information" and cites LA Divorce Lawyer Sorrell Trope of Trope and Trope, identified in some media reports as representing the couple, as saying:
"I have had no contact from Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt. I have never met them. This is true with respect to all other members of this firm."
Schillings stressed that since the publication of the story amounted to a serious misuse of private information it was not required to disclose if the information was true or false. "However in this case we can confirm unequivocally, and upon instructions, that the allegations published by the News of the World are false as well as intrusive," the firm said.
- Jolie Drops Trademark Opposition to 'Shiloh' Perfume (Washington Post, 2007)
- Pitt, Aniston Settle with Ringmaker over Design (People, 2002)
- Defamation, Libel and Slander under US Law (FindLaw)