Campbell defends herself against 'hurtful' claims

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She was one of the leading lights in a group of women whose dazzling beauty led the fashion industry to coin the term "supermodel" in the 1990s. But these days, Naomi Campbell seems to be linked more often with allegations of temper tantrums, violent rages and assaults on employees than with catwalk assignments and magazine covers.

Now, in a move to convince the world she has been terribly misunderstood, she has said her reputation comes from being the target of people trying to take advantage of her. In an interview with Sky News, the 36-year-old from Streatham, south London, who was the first black woman to appear on the front page of British and French Vogue, said she no longer felt it safe to spend time alone in the same room as anyone, to prevent other claims.

She spoke of her feelings after police in London said they were taking no further action over claims that she had attacked her drugs counsellor. "It's been really a tough year in terms of the accusations and stuff like that," she said. "It's been very hurtful and blown out of proportion. But I can't stop getting on with my life. I have to get on with my life. I can't pay too much attention to this negative stuff. I don't like to live in the negative. I like to stay in the present moment and stay positive. I just feel like I am a target. People have told me for months and years, 'You're a target' but it's only just kind of sunk in that I am a target."

Campbell added: "I have to be very careful who I'm around, what I say, who's around me. I cannot be with someone on my own any more because I don't know the agendas that people have. I've had to learn from my mistakes but I don't harbour grudges."

The decision by police in London does not leave her free of all her legal entanglements. Campbell is due back in a New York court in January to face separate charges of assaulting her former maid with a jewel-encrusted mobile phone. She faces up to seven years in jail if convicted of second-degree assault. She could agree to perform community service to settle the assault charge but her lawyer has categorically said that she will not sweep the streets, as Boy George was seen doing earlier this year as part of his community sentence in New York for falsely reporting a burglary.

Despite the looming court case, Campbell said she felt "happy" and had given up alcohol and drugs. "I just want to have my health every day, and my family's health," she added: "I'm happy right now. I know not every day's going to be great. I don't drink, I don't do drugs any more and I feel great about that."

Tempestuous times

1998 Georgina Galanis, an assistant, claims to have been hit over the head while Campbell was making a film in Canada. Campbell pleaded guilty and paid damages.

2000 Vanessa Frisbee, a personal assistant, accused Campbell of throwing a plate at her. The model denied it and sued for breach of contract.

2001 Simone Craig, an assistant, claimed she had been held hostage by the model, who denied the charge.

2001 Pictures published in the Daily Mirror showing Campbell leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Campbell sued for a breach of confidentiality. The Mirror won an appeal in 2002, claiming the pictures were in the public interest. In 2004 that ruling was overturned.

2004 Millicent Burton, a maid, accused Campbell of slapping her. The model said Ms Burton started it.

2005 Assistant Amanda Brack claims she was beaten by Campbell, which she denied.

2005 Yvonne Scio, an actress, claims Campbell punched and kicked her in a Rome hotel. The model denied violence.

2005 Following an alleged row with model Tyra Banks, they made up on television.

2006 Housekeeper Ana Scolavino alleges she suffered a head wound when Campbell threw her mobile phone at her.