Sheryl Gascoigne was forced to put house on sale to fund legal costs
Sheryl Gascoigne, ex-wife of footballer Paul Gascoigne, has revealed that she was forced to list her home on the market to pay for legal costs incurred during a libel case against a newspaper.
Mrs Gascoigne said that she was faced with legal bills of around £200,000 in order to pursue a claim against the Sunday Mirror in 2010, although the case was settled before the house was sold.
She said: “I was told that I needed to come up with £200,000 to go into court.”
“So where was I going to find that amount of money? All my money is in my home, so that is the only way I knew how to locate that.”
Speaking at the Leveson inquiry into press standards, Mrs Gascoigne criticised the current difficulty in gaining recompense for publishing falsehoods. Calling for a legal “deterrent” to the printing of libellous stories, she said: “I don’t understand why when you sue a paper, and it’s blatantly obvious that they don’t have anything and they completely fabricated a story, you still are out of pocket.”
She also said that photographers had followed her whilst she was pregnant, leading her to retreat into a police station to avoid one member of the paparazzi. On another occasion, she told how she crawled on hands and knees in her home to avoid being photographed through the window.
Mrs Gascoigne began a relationship with the ex-England footballer in 1991, marrying him in 1996. They were divorced in 1998. She said that she accepted that press interest in her life “went with the territory,” but not intrusion into her privacy or inaccurate reporting.
She has pursued several cases against newspapers including the Daily Star and the News of the World in the past two years and has won several court cases as a result.