Rebekah Brooks has said she "learned valuable lessons" during the phone hacking trial but feels "vindicated" by the jury's not guilty verdict.
Speaking to reporters alongside her husband Charlie Brooks, who was also cleared, she said the years of investigations into herself and her former paper had been "very difficult" for the couple and their family.
"They have been difficult for everybody on both sides who have been affected by the issues in this case," she said.
"I am innocent of the crimes I was charged with and I feel vindicated by the unanimous verdicts.
"When I was arrested, it was in the middle of a maelstrom of controversy, politics and comment. Some of it was fair but some of it was not."
Video: Brooks speaks for the first time after being cleared of phone hacking
When questioned about whether she thought she should have done more to stop hacking at the News of the World, she did not give a direct answer.
She told the crowd of reporters: "It's been a time of reflection and I have learned some valuable lessons."
Hacking trial: The verdicts in full
Hacking trial: The verdicts in full
1/7 Rebekah Brooks
The former News of the World editor and News International chief executive has been cleared of conspiracy to hack phones; misconduct in public office for allegedly signing off payments to a Sun journalist's 'number one military contact' between 2004 and 2012; conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after seven boxes were allegedly removed from the NI archive just days before 2011 arrests
2/7 Andy Coulson
Former News of the World editor and Downing Street spin doctor guilty of conspiracy to hack phones from 2000 to 2006. The jury failed to reach a majority verdict on charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office by allegedly paying police officers for two royal directories. He could face a retrial.
3/7 Stuart Kuttner
Retired managing editor cleared of involvement in phone-hacking conspiracy spanning six years
4/7 Cheryl Carter
Brooks' former personal assistant, cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by removing seven boxes from the News International company archive just days before she was arrested in 2011
5/7 Charlie Brooks
Racehorse trainer and Rebekah Brooks' husband, cleared of perverting the course of justice around the time of police searches in July 2011
6/7 Mark Hanna
Former News International director of security, cleared of perverting the course of justice
7/7 Clive Goodman
The former News of the World royal editor, could face a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict on charges of committing misconduct in public office for allegedly paying police officers for two royal directories
Ms Brooks could not be pushed to comment on her former colleague Andy Coulson, who was found guilty of one count of phone hacking but faces a possible retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict on other charges.
She said her thoughts were with former colleagues who faced an "anxious" time as their cases continue.
Her husband, Mr Brooks, said he was "very sad" for Mr Coulson but that he had little to add to the statements he had made when arrested two years ago.
He said he was "very proud" of how his wife coped with the "personal" aspects of the investigation, hinting at lurid revelations about her affair with Coulson.
Ms Brooks was acquitted unanimously of all charges on Tuesday at the Old Bailey.
The one-time editor of the News of the World was overcome with emotion as she was found not guilty of involvement in a conspiracy to hack phones between 2000 and 2006, as well as misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice.
Ms Brooks and Mr Coulson, along with retired managing editor Stuart Kuttner, were acquitted of being part of a conspiracy to hack phones over the course of a six-year period.