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Monday
Nov212011

Hugh Grant: My Phone Was Hacked in 2007

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Actor Hugh Grant accused British tabloids Monday of hacking into his voicemail in 2007 for a story about his love life, buying his private medical records, and burglarizing his apartment in an intrusive search for scoops.

The star of Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary and several other movies testified Monday at the Royal Courts of Justice that The Mail on Sunday had published a story in 2007 claiming that he was having an affair with a "plummy-voiced woman" in Los Angeles.

At the time, he was dating writer Jemima Khan. Grant said that he believed the story was based on messages left by a business associate.

"She would leave charming, joking messages... And she had a voice that can only be described as plummy," Grant testified. "I cannot for the life of me think of any conceivable source for this story in The Mail on Sunday except for these messages on voicemail."

He was not having an affair with the woman, he added.

Grant said he had no proof The Mail on Sunday had hacked into his voicemail. However, Grant sued the newspaper for libel and won. It was the first time that a newspaper not owned by Rupert Murdoch has been implicated in Britain's newspaper phone hacking scandal.

Grant was the first in a series of celebrity witnesses due to testify about allegedly out-of-control phone hacking and other spying techniques used by the aggressive British media. He is to be followed by actress Sienna Miller and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling.

The scandal has resulted in the shutdown of Murdoch's News of the World newspaper, several top editors being arrested and one former editor who became an adviser to British Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to resign.

Earlier in the day, the parents of murdered teenager Milly Dowler told of their experiences with the tabloids during the search for their daughter in 2002. Revelations that the News of the World had hacked the missing girl's phone enraged the public and prompted the creation of the committee that is reviewing the journalistic practices.

The girl's parents, Sally and Bob Dowler, told the nationally televised hearing Monday that at one point they took a private walk to retrace their daughter's last steps and were shocked and angered to learn later that they were secretly photographed by News of the World.

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