A former journalist with Australian Women’s Weekly has told a court she felt “duped” after publishing an article about Rebel Wilson containing what she says were lies told by the Hollywood star.
- Articles claimed Rebel Wilson told “pork pies”
- Wilson denies lying to journalists, tells court articles damaged her career
- Journalist said Wilson lied about real age, being named Rebel at birth
Wilson, 37, is suing Bauer Media, the publisher of Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly, NW and OK! Magazine, after a series of articles in 2015 that she said damaged her career by painting her as a serial liar.
The articles said Wilson told “pork pies” about a number of elements in her life, including being related to Walt Disney.
Caroline Overington told the Victorian Supreme Court the Pitch Perfect actor lied to her about her real name, age and childhood during an interview in 2014.
Wilson has denied she lied to journalists and told the court the articles caused her career serious damage for nearly two years, leading to her being sacked from two DreamWorks films.
Overington said that a year after publishing her article on Wilson, a number of other articles made her question the veracity of Wilson’s story.
She told the court she set about trying to correct the errors by publishing a follow-up article separating fact from fiction.
During cross-examination, Overington said Wilson “gilded the lily” in their interview and she felt “duped” by the star.
“I would have imagined when I asked her questions, I would have been told the truth,” she said.
Overington said Wilson had lied about her real age and lied about being named Rebel at birth, when she was actually called Melanie Bownds.
‘She’s been extremely stressed’
Wilson’s lawyer, Matthew Collins QC, argued there was a “wealth of information” in the public domain about the actor’s real age before Overington ever wrote her article.
He said the journalist had “misinterpreted” what Wilson had told her about her age.
Earlier, Logie-winning actor Hugh Sheridan came in to bat for Wilson via video link from Los Angeles, telling a story about how the pair had visited a secret Disneyland apartment.
Sheridan said he and Wilson had visited the secret apartment, where at the touch of a button mermaids appeared in pictures, music started and visions were projected onto the walls.
He also told the court Wilson had been “very upset” after Bauer Media published the articles.
Sheridan said Wilson felt she had been called a liar about “things that were actually true”, such as her and her siblings’ unusual names.
“She’s been extremely distressed about it. She’s in court now. It’s awful,” he said.