Rebekah, 37, from Battersea, in shock domestic violence 'assault'

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Ms Wade, 37, was detained when police were called to the couple's home in south London at 4am yesterday after reports of an assault. Mr Kemp, 41, who has recently returned to his role as Grant Mitchell in BBC soap opera EastEnders, and specialises in "hard man" roles, is said to have refused hospital treatment for a cut lip. He is understood to have been filming yesterday.

His wife was questioned at Battersea police station but Scotland Yard said no further action would be taken against her.

Ms Wade, previously editor of the News of The World, has been editor of The Sun for almost three years, and it has taken a strong line against antisocial behaviour. The Sun has also mounted a long campaign against domestic violence, and has featured men among the victims.

This morning, The Sun's "Showbiz sensation" focused on a bizarre twist to the events; news that the former partner of Steve McFadden, who plays Mr Kemp's on-screen brother, Phil, in EastEnders, attacked her ex-boyfriend within hours of Ms Wade's alleged assault. The front page sub-heading, "And his bruv's had a bit of bovver too", was followed inside with a quote from Ms Wade saying: "It was just a silly row that got out of hand", and Mr Kemp saying: "It was a lot of fuss about nothing." Unsurprisingly, the Daily Mirror chose to lead on Mr Kemp and Ms Wade and depicted the couple as characters in EastEnders.

Rupert Murdoch, Ms Wade's boss, who is in London for the annual general meeting of BSkyB today, had urged The Sun staff to "get a good paper out ", according to one source. Mr Murdoch often waits before removing an editor who has fallen out of favour. But speculation had already surfaced about Ms Wade's future, with the newspaper's circulation level slipping slightly.

The day's events had the press awash with rumour. Then news came in of Angela Bostock's caution for assaulting Mr McFadden. There was no indication that the events were linked. Both actors have been reunited in a three-week return of the Mitchell brothers to the soap.

On Wednesday evening, Ms Wade had met to commiserate with David Blunkett, a personal friend, who had resigned earlier as Work and Pensions Secretary. They had a drink at the Ivy restaurant in the West End. One report suggested Mr Murdoch was present. After Mr Blunkett returned to the Commons for a vote, Ms Wade was joined by her husband at the west London home of Matthew Freud, the PR figure married to Elisabeth Murdoch. He was throwing a party to celebrate his birthday.

The couple spent the evening there and left "very late, long after midnight", according to someone who was there. They were said to have travelled in Ms Wade's chauffeur-driven Mercedes.

Scotland Yard confirmed only that officers had been called to an address in Battersea at 4am "in relation to an alleged assault". But news spread quickly and was broken on Sky News, also part of Mr Murdoch's News Corporation. Executives are believed to have taken the decision to broadcast the story without consulting him.

Ms Wade was brought up in Cheshire. After grammar school, she studied at the Sorbonne and took her first job on a Parisian architectural magazine. She switched to local newspapers, starting as a secretary at Eddy Shah's Messenger group.

After joining the News of the World, she rose swiftly up the hierarchy, becoming editor in 2000. At 34, she took over as Sun editor from David Yelland in January 2003. She is the first woman to edit it. Ms Wade met Mr Kemp at a golf tournament in 1995. They married in 2002 in Las Vegas.

Ms Wade, who had been due at the 50th Women of the Year lunch, arrived at The Sun in Wapping, east London, in the afternoon. She joked that, with Mr Murdoch in town, she had to find a good splash [main story]. "So I gave Ross one," she said.

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