Celebrity chef wins damages over claims of drink and drugs binge

The celebrity chef Marco Pierre White won £75,000 High Court libel damages yesterday because two newspapers wrongly claimed he had a binge of drink and drugs.

The judge ordered The New York Times and International Herald Tribune to pay the costs of the three-day hearing, unofficially estimated at £480,000, and to make an interim payment of £160,000 which Mr White, 38, had already given to his solicitors.

Mr White, who marries his long-time girlfriend Mati tomorrow, said he had been defamed in 1998 with a "bombshell" sentence claiming he had a "well-publicised bout with drugs and alcohol".

The chef, of Curzon Street, Mayfair, central London, told the court he was angered and upset. He "very rarely" drank and might have a glass of wine "from time to time" during a social occasion. He added: "I have never taken drugs in my life. I object to drugs. It is just something I don't approve of. I think it's very destructive."

The newspapers accepted there was no truth in their allegation. But they said the article did not defame him because it did not lower his reputation as a chef or abusinessman.

The jury awarded Mr White £15,000 against The New York Times and £60,000 against the International Herald Tribune.

Mr White's counsel, George Carman QC, had said: "It is for me to say of him - but I'm sure he wouldn't say it of himself - he is probably the most outstanding and distinguished restaurateur and chef this country has produced in the last 25 years."

Immense talent, virtually unremitting hard work, ambition and complete passion had brought him success in "full measure". He was the youngest chef to obtain three Michelin stars and the "only Englishman to be so honoured in the gastronomic world".

Mr Carman said the papers hired detectives to dig up any "dirt" on him, stories of "sex and drugs and rock and roll".

Geoffrey Robertson QC, for the newspapers, claimed most of the article was "very positive" and suggested it had enhanced Mr White's reputation, showing he had become "a star in his own firmament".

Lawyers for the papers said they would appeal.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
voicesBy the man who has
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
newsFloyd 'Creeky' Creekmore still performed regularly to raise money for local hospitals
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?