LONDON (Reuters) - British actress Sienna Miller spoke on Friday of her anger that “titillating” information about her affair with James Bond actor Daniel Craig had been made public at the phone-hacking trial of a former Rupert Murdoch tabloid editor.
The trial of Andy Coulson, who edited Murdoch’s now defunct-News of the World Newspaper, has heard lengthy evidence this week about a voicemail message she left for Craig in 2005 which has taken center stage in the high-profile court case.
Coulson, editor of the mass-selling tabloid until 2007 and then Prime Minister David Cameron’s head of communications up to early 2011, is accused of conspiracy to illegally intercept messages on mobile phones, a charge he denies.
Giving evidence at London’s Old Bailey court via videolink from the United States, Miller said she was unhappy that personal details had been disclosed in the trial.
“This is a really difficult and uncomfortable period of my life to discuss,” she said, adding the evidence had meant she had been “gossiped about and analyzed and vilified”.
On Monday, her former boyfriend, actor Jude Law, was quizzed about their relationship, which had fascinated Britain’s tabloid press. He testified that he had telephoned Craig to confront him about his alleged affair with Miller.
Dan Evans, a former reporter on the paper who has admitted illegally tapping thousands of voicemails, has since told the court that he had hacked Craig’s phone and later played a delighted Coulson a message left by Miller.
He told the jury she had said: “Hi. It’s me. Can’t speak. I’m at the Groucho (club) with Jude. I love you.”
Miller agreed she had probably left the message but added:
“The thing that’s been slightly misconstrued about this voicemail message is the fact that I said ‘I love you’ and that this was some incredibly important declaration of love.
“That’s how I would have ended my phonecalls to him. It’s been turned into a titillating piece of information. I regret it’s allowed to be analyzed the way it has.”
The 32-year-old actress, who appeared in the “Layer Cake” and “Alfie” films, described Craig as her best friend but later said: “Whether or not I was in a relationship with Daniel Craig at the time, it was a very brief encounter.”
Coulson’s lawyer Timothy Langdale, who has accused Evans of lying about the former editor’s knowledge of the hacked voicemail, suggested to her that, given what she had said, it could not have formed the basis for a subsequent News of the World exclusive story about the affair.
“People who heard who didn’t understand the relationship would have thought it was a pretty exciting message to hear,” said Miller, who has been filming in New Orleans.
“If a journalist got their hands on that piece of information they would have found it titillating and it might have been the basis of a story.”
The London courtroom was packed for Miller’s appearance and there were roars of laughter when a time delay on the videolink left Miller baffled by one of Langdale’s questions.
“You just told me you loved me and I interrupted,” Miller told the bespectacled lawyer wearing a traditional grey wig.
After completing her evidence, the judge John Saunders apologized to Miller for any distress the airing of personal details had caused.
“I’m very sorry if it’s had an effect on you,” he said.
Coulson has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to intercept voicemails and authorizing illegal payments to public officials. Six others, including Rebekah Brooks, the former head of the British newspaper arm of Murdoch’s News Corp., are also on trial and deny all charges.
Editing by Tom Heneghan