Rebel Wilson defends Disney connection

Amber Wilson
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Rebel Wilson defends Disney connection

Rebel Wilson forked out $60,000 to join a secret, invite-only Disneyland club, having believed all her life she was distantly related to Walt Disney himself.

Wilson, 37, denied that her connection to the pioneering animator via his wife Lillian Bounds was simply made up, a "lovely" fabrication by her grandmother for a Disney-obsessed child.

Wilson is suing Bauer Media - the publishers of Woman's Day, Australian Women's Weekly, NW and OK magazine - for defamation over a series of articles she claims painted her as a liar and a fake, and allegedly damaged her career.

Wilson claims she has never lied about her real name, age or childhood.

During cross-examination in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Monday, Wilson said she still believed Disney was her great or great, great uncle by marriage - a claim the publisher said was untrue.

She said she officially joined Disneyland's Club 33 this year and was likely invited due to her familial connection and her profile in Hollywood.

Bauer's defence barrister Georgina Schoff said a genealogist proved there was no familial connection.

Wilson also spoke about flying into Australia in 2013 for two contractually-arranged media interviews - one with Fairfax and one with the Women's Weekly - to promote Stan, when she was the face of the media streaming service.

She said she wary about the impending magazine interview because she'd been hurt by tabloids in the past and so there was "no way" she would have given Bauer title Australian Women's Weekly a one-on-one interview unless she was being paid.

Ms Schoff asked Wilson if she "seriously" thought the interviews would just be about the online entertainment service, as they proved not to be.

Wilson said the agreement was only to talk about Stan, and she was caught off guard when journalist Caroline Overington asked about her father's death and her love and sex life.

Ms Schoff said Wilson's age was "a matter of real sensitivity" for her and her agents, and that she would have missed out on "very lucrative" film roles had her real age been known.

Wilson denied she lied about her age to journalists, but admitted her publicist asked Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood to remove references to Wilson's age in an online article.

Also on Monday, Wilson denied she signed lucrative contracts for Hollywood movies in the months after Bauer Media allegedly defamed her.

Ms Schoff said the lucrative contract for Pitch Perfect 3 was dated September 17, 2015, during the period the comic actress claimed she couldn't land a leading role.

However, Wilson said she didn't sign the contract until 2017 and that the document had been backdated to account for merchandising.

Ms Schoff also claimed Wilson had been terminated from her roles in Kung Fu Panda 3 and Trolls before the articles were published in May 2015, allegations the star denied.