Rebel Wilson: Actress to recover legal fees in defamation case

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Rebel Wilson was awarded Australia’s largest defamation payout last year

Actress Rebel Wilson will recoup an additional sum for legal costs after being awarded Australia’s largest defamation payout, a court has ruled.

Ms Wilson successfully sued publisher Bauer Media last year over magazine articles that she said portrayed her as a serial liar.

Bauer has appealed against the A$4.5m (£2.5m; $3.5m) payout.

On Thursday, the court confirmed the publisher would also have to pay most of the Hollywood actress’s legal fees.

Australian media reported the costs were likely to exceed A$1m after the Supreme Court of Victoria rejected Ms Wilson’s initial bid for A$1.4m. The exact sum will be negotiated in a separate court.

The size of the defamation payout has generated debate in Australia over whether it could stifle journalism that is in the public interest.

Career ‘damaged’

Ms Wilson has said the articles, published in 2015, contained “grubby and completely false” allegations that she had lied about her name, age and upbringing in Australia.

She said the stories damaged her career in Hollywood, where she has starred in films including Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids.

Bauer had argued the articles were not defamatory, but a jury sided with the actress. She immediately vowed to give her payout to charity.

The publisher’s appeal is due to be heard next week.

Last month, six Australian media firms lost a bid to appeal against the payout on public interest grounds, after a judge ruled it was not sufficiently different to Bauer’s appeal.