Australian actress and comedian Rebel Wilson has described the shock and hurt of being portrayed as a liar and a fraud in a series of magazine articles that almost destroyed her career just as it was taking off.
In her first major interview since winning a defamation case against publishing giant Bauer Media, Rebel broke down as she recalled the devastating impact the tabloid articles had on herself and her family.
“People were calling me a liar and a fake and for someone like me who prides herself on being very candid and authentic, it was probably the most devastating thing they could have said to me.
“I went from this girl who has just worked her absolute ass off to get where she was to just being torn down in a second, in a 24-hour period. And what was most sad about it is that I had no idea why these people would do this to me.”
The series of damaging articles published in May 2015 in Woman’s Day, Women’s Weekly, OK and NW accused Rebel of lying about her name, her age and her upbringing.
Rebel said the false stories, based largely on information provided by an anonymous source, resulted in a sudden decline in offers from film makers in Hollywood and elsewhere.
“Doors that were open just shut and I got fired from two family movies that I’d already completed, which was probably my lowest point,” she said.
Rebel was awarded $4.56 million in damages - the largest payout of its kind in Australian history and four times the previous record amount.
It was such an overwhelming, comprehensive victory. It was amazing, instantly my reputation was restored and this massive weight was lifted off my shoulders.
“It was very, very satisfying to win.”
Rebel had planned to donate the money to charities for Christmas, but Bauer Media has since lodged an appeal.
“They are whining about the amount they are going to have to pay me and try and get it reduced, which is really gross considering I am giving the money to charity,” she said.
Since winning the case, Rebel’s career has made a sudden turn around. She spoke with Sunday Night on the set of her latest project – a remake of the 1988 comedy classic, ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’.
She is producing and starring in the movie alongside Anne Hathaway.
Rebel will also be back on the big screen in 2018 with the release of Pitch Perfect 3.