Entertainment & Arts

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel settle Heat magazine legal action

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel married in Italy in 2012

Singer Justin Timberlake and his wife Jessica Biel have settled legal action against Heat magazine after it published a "false and unfounded story" questioning their two-year marriage.

The celebrity magazine has now apologised and retracted the story, which featured pictures of Timberlake at a party in a Paris nightclub.

It was accompanied by quotes wrongly attributed to actress Biel.

The couple lodged the defamation claim at the High Court in Dublin, Ireland.

The court heard the story, which featured in the 6-12 September edition of Heat, was based on an "unfounded report" regarding Timberlake's alleged behaviour at a birthday party in the club after one of his shows.

Lawyers for the couple confirmed a settlement had been reached after the brief hearing before the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns.

Paul Tweed of Johnsons Solicitors read a statement outside, although he did not disclose any financial details.

"Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are very satisfied with this categoric retraction of what was a false and unfounded story, together with the comprehensive apology from Bauer Consumer Media, the publishers of Heat magazine," he said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Timberlake was 2013's biggest selling artist of the year in the US

It continued: "The couple will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter, but will not hesitate to take similar legal action if false allegations regarding the state of their marriage are repeated."

Mr Tweed told the BBC as it was a European edition of the magazine, his clients could make their claim anywhere in Europe.

Unreserved apology

The story had been headlined "Justin Timberlake gets flirty with another woman, it is not his wife!" and "The flirty photos that rocked Justin and Jessica's marriage".

It also included quotes attributed to Biel, which "Heat now understands had never been made by her", according to a statement from the publishers read out in court.

"The defendant accepts that the article was false and withdraws any inferences that questioned the state of Justin and Jessica's marriage.

"The defendant regrets any embarrassment caused to the couple and unreservedly apologises to them," it added.

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