Heat magazine admitted it made up quotes from Jessica Biel about her marriage to Justin Timberlake.
Timberlake and Biel sued Heat over the Sept. 6 edition’s article and pictures, which was titled both “Justin Timberlake gets flirty with another woman, It is not his wife!” and “The flirty photos that rocked Justin and Jessica’s marriage” the Guardian reported.
Simon McAleese, who represented Heat, told iMediaEthics he couldn’t comment on the issue.
Heat apologized for the “unfounded report” about Timberlake flirting with another woman in Paris. Their statement reads:
“The article was based on an unfounded report regarding Justin Timberlake’s alleged behaviour at a club following a performance in Paris, to celebrate a birthday and also included a number of purported statements improperly attributed to Jessica Biel, which Heat now understands had never been made by her.”
“The defendant accepts that the article was false and withdraws any inferences that questioned the state of Justin and Jessica’s marriage.
“The defendant regrets any embarrassment caused to the couple and unreservedly apologises to them.”
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Paul Tweed, lawyer for Timberlake and Biel, said outside court, according to the Guardian:
“Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are very satisfied with this categoric retraction of what was a false and unfounded story, together with the comprehensive apology from Bauer Consumer Media, the publishers of Heat magazine.
“The couple will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter, but will not hesitate to take similar legal action if false allegations regarding the state of their marriage are repeated.”
The defamation lawsuit was handled in Ireland. “Tweed told the BBC as it was a European edition of the magazine, his clients could make their claim anywhere in Europe,” the BBC reported.
iMediaEthics has written to Tweed for comment.
Hat Tip: Poynter
UPDATE: 10/24/2014 11:39 AM EST Tweed, lawyer for Timberlake and Biel, told iMediaEthics by e-mail: “The apology has been made in the form of a Statement in Open Court and will not be published in the magazine. All other terms of the settlement are strictly confidential.”