Irish singer-turned-television host Ronan Keating has received “substantial damages” and a public apology from News of the World publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) over claims his cellphone was hacked over three decades.
NGN also agreed to pay Keating’s legal costs and undertook not to “access or attempt to access Mr Keating’s private information by unlawful means” in the future.
“Mr. Keating identified a number of articles published by the Defendant’s newspapers, between 1996 and 2011, which he claimed contained his private information and which he asserted were suspicious,” Keating’s lawyer, Ellen Gallagher, told the High Court in London.
“During this time, Mr Keating used his voicemail extensively and would regularly exchange voicemail messages with his close friends and family. The publication of these articles generated distrust which impacted on [Keating’s] relationships and caused his considerable distress and upset.”
“I am delighted NGN has now accepted responsibility for publishing countless articles and my and my family’s private life that should have remained private,” Keating said in a statement. “For many years I was suspicious as to how my private information was being obtained and I am overjoyed that I can now put this episode behind me and move on.”
Keating was represented in his claim by Christopher Hutchings and Ellen Gallagher at Hamlins LLP and David Sherborne of 5RB, whose previous clients have included Johnny Depp and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.
The singer, who recently became a permanent host of BBC One’s “The One Show,” is the latest in a long line of celebrity figures to have received pay-outs from NGN following the collapse in 2011 of its tabloid, News of the World, over allegations that phone hacking was “widespread” at the title.
The saga is being made into a drama by director Saul Dibb (“The Salisbury Poisonings”) and writer Luke Neal (“Des”). Rise Films’ Teddy Leifer (“Icarus”) will executive produce.
The series’ title is “Thank You & Goodbye,” which was the headline on the newspaper’s last ever edition.