The actress Rebel Wilson, who is suing Bauer Media for defamation in the Supreme Court of Victoria, has told the court that an “obsessed and jealous” former classmate was the source of the articles.
The articles, which first appeared in Bauer’s Woman’s Day and were repeated in Women’s Weekly, inferred that Wilson was a serial liar who had lied her way into Hollywood roles.
Wilson denies the claims and said the articles, which appeared in May 2015, destroyed her fledgling career in the US. “The phone just stopped ringing,” her barrister told the judge.
Yesterday, Wilson took the stand and revealed that the unnamed former classmate had become besotted with her career and had taken it upon herself to bring the 37-year-old down. According to Wilson this person became furious whenever she saw a billboard ad for one of her films.
“All the girls in my grade had been telling me that there was a girl who had become obsessed with my success,” Wilson told the court.
“She’d contacted basically every single person in the Australian media [attempting to sell her version of the story],” the comments reported by AAP.
Wilson described the Bauer articles as a “malicious, deliberate take-down of me”.
“I never expected to be in a court case having to prove every aspect of my life,” she said
The comic actress appeared to take particular umbrage over the article’s claims she wasn’t funny at school. “I cracked jokes all the time, everyone knew me for cracking jokes,” Wilson said.
The Bauer articles suggested Wilson had a privileged upbringing on Sydney’s north shore and not the working-class one she had claimed. Wilson telling the judge she thought of herself as a “bogan” albeit “a cashed-up bogan”.
She told how she’d changed her name from Melanie to Rebel, her childhood nickname and how she’d decided to become an actor after hallucinating on drugs after picking up malaria on a trip to Africa in her early early 20s.
Wilson said the articles had damaged her career to the extent she missed out on roles in smash hit films such as Kung Fu Panda and Trolls. The only roles she has had since the articles were published was a cameo in Absolutely Fabulous, which she did as a favour, and a stage role in London. “I have no current job,” she said.
Bauer will defend the articles and claim they were trivial and there’s no way they could have caused the damage that Wilson insists they did.
The case is expected to last three weeks with Wilson stating she will attend court every day.