Peter Andre accepts libel damages

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The Independent Online

Singer and TV personality Peter Andre accepted "substantial" damages in the High Court today over "offensive" allegations that he was lying in portraying himself as a loving father and husband.

Andre, 36, was present in the London courtroom for a brief hearing before Mr Justice Eady.

His solicitor, Gordon Williams, told the judge that the action related to an article published in July in Now, a weekly celebrity and gossip magazine.

He said it claimed that Andre may have been at fault for two accidents suffered by Harvey, the severely disabled son of his former wife Katie Price, with whom he has two children, Junior and Princess.

Mr Williams told the court: "Separately, Mr Andre was also said to have demanded sick sexual threesomes from his wife, which horrified her and which she did not enjoy, feeling used and like a sex doll.

"As a result, Mr Andre was said to be lying in portraying himself as a loving father and husband."

After the hearing Andre, who declined to reveal the amount of the damages, said he was "pleased" that Now had accepted that the story was untrue.

He added: "I take my responsibilities very seriously. I would never do anything to hurt my children, whom I love very much."

Mr Williams told the judge: "Mr Andre is a well-known television personality and pop singer. He has two small children with his former wife, Ms Katie Price, who is also known as Jordan and from whom he has recently been divorced.

"Relevant for these purposes is also the fact that Ms Price, by a former partner, has another young son, Harvey, who is severely disabled."

He said: "The article claimed that Mr Andre may have been at fault for two accidents that Harvey suffered whilst Mr Andre and Ms Price were still together, one where he scalded his leg in a hot bath and one where he fell into a mirror.

"It was alleged that Mr Andre had selfishly pursued his own interests in his music studio when he should have been looking after Harvey."

Mr Williams said the allegations about him as a father and husband were "highly defamatory" and were "particularly upsetting and offensive to Mr Andre because they are simply not true".

The defendant, IPC Media Limited, publisher of the magazine, agreed to pay Andre a "substantial sum by way of damages and legal fees".

Paul Fox, solicitor for the defendant, told Mr Justice Eady: "The defendant is here today to apologise to Mr Andre for the hurt and damage he has suffered as a result of this article.

"It accepts that the allegations complained of were untrue and regrets that they were published."

Afterwards Andre said: "Everyone knows that the worst thing anyone could challenge is my parenting skills. Challenge me on anything, but not that."

He said: "I believe that one of the greatest responsibilities I have is as a parent. For me that applies equally to Junior, Princess and to Harvey."

Andre added: "I don't want to have to keep coming back to court, but if that is my only option to prove the point then I will do it."