Belle de Jour author sued by ex-boyfriend

Former RAF officer claims Brooke Magnanti breached his privacy and cost him his job

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The Independent Culture

The ex-boyfriend of author and former high-class prostitute, Dr Brooke Magnanti, is suing her for defamation.

Owen Morris, 38, had a six-year affair with Dr Magnanti - better known by the pen name Belle de Jour - while she was blogging about her life as a call girl for rich London clients.

The former RAF officer was only referred to as "the Boy" in the blog and the subsequent books, The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl and The Further Adventures Of A London Call Girl. The books were released in 2005 and 2006, and later turned into a TV show, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper.

But now, Mr Morris says he was defamed in the books - having been identified when Magnanti outed herself as Belle in 2009 - and that she didn't tell him about her line of work.

He claims that Magnanti wrote the first book whilst a PhD student in Sheffield, rather than living in London; that she actually had a job and a relationship with him rather than being single and unemployed as portrayed; and that clients she wrote about were based on their sex life and relationship.

He is suing her for defamation, breach of privacy, and allegedly costing him his job - he has since lost his career and lives on the dole.

He told The Mail on Sunday: "The Belle de Jour myth has ruined me and rendered me unemployable. The private lives of me, my family and friends were not only used without my knowledge or consent, but twisted and darkened.

"She identified me when she outed herself.

"I am suing her because I want to be left alone and stop Brooke destroying my life further."

Writing in a blog post, Magnanti has denied the allegations and claims solid evidence to wield in court. These include bank statements and tax records which show her earnings from sex work and diaries in which she recorded appointments.

She wrote: "Mr Morris and the Mail on Sunday have made some frankly nonsense claims, and I will be going to town on this.

"Because I know people do not trust the word of a sex worker, that is why I saved everything.

"As I said before, I look forward to the opportunity to rebut all claims Mr Morris will be making in court."

Mr Morris says Dr Magnanti kept the nature of her blog secret, after they started a relationship on 2001, whilst both living in Sheffield.

He said: "I knew she was writing a blog as she was often typing away but she said it was science fiction and I believed her. I didn’t read it and I had no idea what it actually was.

"But in spring 2004, I thought she’d been writing down things I said so I put one of my exact phrases into Google – something extremely unique – and the blog popped up. I was absolutely horrified.

"But I didn’t actually realise I was in it as all my quotes were as clients, and I didn’t think she was actually a prostitute."

The case is due to be contested shortly in the Scottish courts.