22.9.04

Beckham's set to sue paper over marriage slur

As if we'd not had enough recurring stories about the Beckham's marriage being on-the-rocks! With minimal excitement taking place on the pitch, the papers thought they'd turn their endless speculation about Posh and Beck's marriage into an exclusive and claim (again) that their marriage was in trouble.

Fuel for this rekindled fire was the fact that the couple had spent some time together without the kids at a swanky hotel. This, according to our top tabloid sleuths, was allegedly due to the fact their marriage crisis had deepened and they were holding last-ditch talks in an attempt to save it.

The media still seems to feel cheated by the fact their coverage of Rebecca Loos sexy text affair was not enough to unseat the Beckhams from their marital throne and never elicited any confirmation or denial from Becks about the affair. (Well with Sven as his mentor what would one expect?) As the various tales of textuality never led to litigation we were deprived what would have been interesting legal argument about the admissibility of Miss Loos alleged text messages.

After threatening to call in the lawyers last time round, this latest publication of tabloid tittle-tattle has left the Beckhams unimpressed and upset and lawyers demanded the story be retracted. While the Sun has run Beckham's swift denial [story HERE], the News of the World is sticking to its story.

So could this finally see the Beckhams take on the tabloids? According to law firm Harbottle and Lewis who are representing them in this matter, the couple and their family are distressed. As we learnt from the recent House of Lords judgment in Naomi Campbell's tussle with the Mirror, such distress is now more likely to be actionable.

Whether tabloid speculation would be seen as intrusive of the Beckham's privacy may turn into an interesting argument. Certainly the story was upsetting but was it gained by intrusive means? What we may be looking at - if this case progresses - is whether speculation itself can be seen as intrusive and as such a breach of privacy.

More from BBC HERE
More from Media Guardian HERE