Tuesday 28 February 2017

From Lady Macbeth to Bridget and back

Rebekah Brooks has always seemed tough, but discussion of her personal life has revealed her vulnerability

Julia Molony

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks arrives at the Old Bailey
Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks arrives at the Old Bailey

It was Rebekah Brooks's Bridget Jones moment. Last week, as she answered criminal charges in court, Fleet Street's toughest hack revealed a previously unseen side to herself: the bruised, hapless romantic.

Brooks was called to answer questions about her affair with her News International colleague Andrew Coulson, with whom she is accused of conspiring in a sustained campaign of phone hacking. The prosecution, no doubt, would cast them as a Bonnie and Clyde of print media, whose pillow-talking and scheming led to illegal activities designed to further their mutual galloping ambition.

But Brooks's look in court that day was more damsel-in-distress. As she discussed her failed fertility treatment during her marriage to Ross Kemp, her voice choked and she left the room. She denied a six-year relationship with Coulson, described a love letter she had written to him, in which she said, "I love you, care about you, worry about you. . . without our relationship in my life, I am really not sure how I will cope," as part of her "car-crash personal life".

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