Supermodel prepares to sue over 'secret relationship' claim

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* Sophie Anderton is about to become the latest stalwart of the celebrity circuit to embark on legal action against the News of the World.

* Sophie Anderton is about to become the latest stalwart of the celebrity circuit to embark on legal action against the News of the World.

In a move that will garner many headlines, the supermodel is attempting to sue the Sunday newspaper over an article that claimed she was involved in a "secret relationship" with John Leslie.

The case will be particularly entertaining, as I gather that it may hinge - in part, at least - on the question of whether being associated with Mr Leslie damages one's career. Anderton reckons it does; the NOTW is expected to disagree.

Anderton, above, will also claim that the article, which was published in June, threatened to disrupt her relationship with her current boyfriend, the nightclub owner Mark Alexiou.

"I can't talk about this in detail, because the case is with my lawyers at the moment, but I'm suing," says Anderton, who gained fame as the "face" of Gossard's Wonderbra.

"The article was complete nonsense; I've never even met John Leslie. I don't know what the newspaper is doing to try to prepare their defence, but I've been very tolerant with them so far. We've given them two extensions already."

News of Anderton's action comes a day after it emerged that David Beckham is also attempting to sue the red top, for recently claiming that his marriage was in trouble.

* THE FORMER model Padma Lakshmi, wife of the author Salman Rushdie, has weighed into the debate over the absence of top designers at London Fashion Week.

Speaking at Julien Macdonald's show, she laid the blame firmly at the door of the British Fashion Council, which is chaired by Stuart Rose, the chief executive of M&S.

"I don't think that London is more amateurish than other fashion weeks, but it does need to have better organisation, to give it the feel of a real event," she said.

"That's really the job of the Fashion Council, who should get more involved."

Ironically, Macdonald's show - sponsored by Gran Centenario tequila - will be his last in London. Future ones will be in New York.

Apropros of her current work, Ms Lakshmi adds: "I used to work in fashion, and I like to continue to feel a part of it, but my career is moving into writing. I'm working on a new cookery book."

* BEN FOGLE is taking a break from rural Britain. He's about to start training for a bid to row his way across the Atlantic.

It'll be some challenge for the Countryfile presenter, left: he last got behind the oars at Bryanston School, in Dorset, where he was a keen (if undistinguished) rower.

"I'm in the middle of raising sponsorship, and if it all works out, I will set off from Gran Canaria next November," he said at an exhibition of Elizabeth Emanuel's designs.

"I'll end up in Barbados, and I'm busy looking for a rowing partner. I'm toying with asking some of the Olympic team to take part, as I have met them before, and could do with a bit of expertise."

* A CHARM offensive by The Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson has rather gloriously backfired.

Last week, his staff was sent a memo asking for "suggestions about anything we might do to improve our environment". Comment editor Mark Law responded that a good first step would be to get rid of Lawson.

On Tuesday, Law was given the sack. Colleagues say his straight talking wasn't out of character: a couple of years ago, he telephoned his then chief executive, Dan Colson, at two in the morning, to complain that there wasn't any hot food in the canteen.

"Mark's been a bit of a silly boy, but the general attitude is hat's off to him," I'm told.

* Odd to report that Tamara Beckwith's next career move will provide clear evidence that we live in a classless society. The socialite is launching a "signature" range of jewellery, and has decided to sell it in the hallowed studios of Sky TV's shopping channel QVC.

"I've designed 14 pieces, mostly rings," Beckwith tells me. "They're made from semi-precious stones and nine carat gold, and I will be wearing them all myself."

As to whether they'll cut the mustard in her circles, Beckwith adds: "There's no need to be snobby about them. I was wearing some of the earrings at Cipriani the other night and people couldn't believe it when I said where they were from."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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