Model's 'gold-digger' libel case victory

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The Independent Online

A model accepted £7,500 libel damages yesterday over a magazine article that claimed she spent her husband's £2.8m National Lottery win on herself and friends, reducing him to insolvency and homelessness.

A model accepted £7,500 libel damages yesterday over a magazine article that claimed she spent her husband's £2.8m National Lottery win on herself and friends, reducing him to insolvency and homelessness.

Kelly Antonucci, 24, from Plymouth, who also received a public apology, celebrated with vintage champagne outside the High Court in London after a hearing to announce settlement of her action against IPC Magazines Ltd, publisher of the listing magazine, What's on TV and its editor, Mike Hollingsworth.

Tom Phipps, representing Mrs Antonucci, told Mr Justice Eady she had a three-month marriage to Mike Antonucci, 52, in 1998, until he walked out.

Last year a BBC programme on lottery winners included references to the Antonuccis. An article, under the heading "Money can't buy me love", was published in What's on TV, said to be based on an interview with Mr Antonucci, claiming his bride had spent his fortune.

"This allegation was false," said Mr Phipps. "Mrs Antonucci had not reduced her husband to homelessness or poverty, thereby destroying the marriage. In fact, she hoped and expected it to last. Mr Antonucci remains a man with substantial assets."

The defendants acknowledged the allegation was false and should not have been made. They had agreed to pay her damages and her legal costs.

The Antonuccis are now said to be divorcing.

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