Melania Trump gets ‘substantial damages’ and an apology for story in British magazine
Kate Bennett, CNN
(CNN) — A British magazine has issued an apology to first lady Melania Trump for an article it published last week which included several inaccuracies about her life and her family.
Titled “The mystery of Melania,” the story was written by American author Nina Burleigh for the magazine section of The Telegraph newspaper, and included portions that prompted Trump to demand the record be corrected.
“We apologise unreservedly to The First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations,” said part of the written apology issued by The Telegraph late Friday. The publication added it had agreed to pay Trump “substantial damages as well as her legal costs.”
Trump sought correction to the story via her attorney, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN.
“Mrs. Trump often refers to opportunists out to advance themselves by disparaging her name and image,” Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s communications director, said in a statement to CNN. “She will not sit by as people and media outlets make up lies and false assertions in a race for ratings or to sell tabloid headlines.”
One of the issues the first lady charged was incorrect was Burleigh’s description of Trump’s father, Viktor Knavs, as a menacing figure.
“Mrs. Trump’s father was not a fearsome presence and did not control the family,” said The Telegraph’s retraction.
Additionally, the story, which has now been removed from the Telegraph website, said Trump left university in Slovenia after one year because of an exam. But she left because she wished to pursue a full-time modeling career. Along the same lines, The Telegraph admitted in its apology that Trump was a successful working model prior to meeting Donald Trump in 1998 — a date the story also got wrong, stating incorrectly the two met in 1996.
“Mrs. Trump was not struggling in her modelling career before she met Mr. Trump, and she did not advance in her career due to the assistance of Mr Trump,” states the apology. “We accept that Mrs. Trump was a successful professional model in her own right before she met her husband and obtained her own modelling work without his assistance.”
This is not the first time Trump has legally challenged stories printed about her and won. In 2017, she was awarded $2.9 million dollars by the Daily Mail after she filed a lawsuit charging the publication made false and defamatory statements about her.
“We accept that these allegations about Mrs. Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologize to Mrs. Trump for any distress that our publication caused her,” the Daily Mail and Mail Online said in a statement after the settlement was reached.
Another point of contention in The Telegraph story was Burleigh’s description of Trump’s actions on election night, after Donald Trump won the presidency. The story said Trump cried, a description first noted in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire & Fury” last year.
“The claim that Mrs. Trump cried on election night is also false,” said The Telegraph’s apology.