Kate Winslet wins damages over exercise libel

LONDON Tue Nov 3, 2009 12:29pm EST

Best actress winner Kate Winslet poses with her Oscar for her role in ''The Reader'' backstage at the 81st Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Best actress winner Kate Winslet poses with her Oscar for her role in ''The Reader'' backstage at the 81st Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 22, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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LONDON (Reuters) - Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet accepted libel damages of 25,000 pounds ($41,000) on Tuesday over allegations she publicly lied about her exercise regime.

The star, who won a best actress Academy Award for her role in "The Reader," was not at the High Court for the settlement of her action against Associated Newspapers, the Press Association reported.

Winslet, 34, sued the company over an article published in the Daily Mail newspaper in January called "Should Kate Winslet win an Oscar for the world's most irritating actress?"

The article had disputed Winslet's assertion that she did not attend a gym but exercised for 20 minutes or so each day at home, suggesting that the actress must have worked harder on her figure.

Her lawyer Rachel Atkins said the story, accompanied by several naked photographs of the actress in various films, was offensive in tone.

"The claimant has frequently asserted the right of women to accept the way that they look and by accusing her of trying to mislead the public, the defendant caused her a great deal of distress," Atkins said. "It was simply not true."

She added that the newspaper published an apology in September accepting that Winslet had not been duplicitous, and had agreed to pay the damages and costs.

Winslet said in a statement: "I am delighted that the Mail have apologized for making false allegations about me.

"I was particularly upset to be accused of lying about my exercise regime and felt that I had a responsibility to request an apology in order to demonstrate my commitment to the views that I have always expressed about body issues, including diet and exercise.

"I strongly believe that women should be encouraged to accept themselves as they are, so to suggest that I was lying was an unacceptable accusation of hypocrisy."

(Writing by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)

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