Vanessa Perroncel, the woman alleged to have had an affair with former England captain John Terry – an allegation she denies – has given newspaper interviews this weekend in which she condemns both the use of gagging orders by celebrities and the tabloid media coverage of the affair allegations.
In an interview with the Independent on Sunday, Perroncel said people should not be able to pick and choose when they want a public profile in the media.
There are some people who enjoy the limelight, and they let the press have really intimate information, like weddings, baptisms and so on. So why should these people then be allowed to cherry pick what the newspapers write about them? I know how expensive it is to take out an injunction, and it’s not fair that footballers should be allowed to protect themselves because of their money.
Her comments follow John Terry’s use of a ‘super-injunction’ in February against the News of the World which temporarily stopped the newspaper from publishing allegations of the affair. The order, which was later lifted, made it appear as though they had something to hide, Perroncel says.
She says she is angry that Terry took an injunction out, as she felt it was disproportionate. “There was no need: a simple denial would have done,” she says. “People said I had been gagged but that wasn’t true.” She is angry at the damage the allegations did to her reputation, and at the red-top intrusion she suffered. But she believes newspapers should be free to report genuine cases of infidelity.
She discusses the damage to her reputation further in an interview with the Guardian writer Polly Vernon, who herself concludes that the model was “ripped apart” by the media – the only party who should feel guilt for the way the story played out, she adds.
I am shocked at the wrong that’s been done to Vanessa. Whether or not you believe her denials – and oh, it’s tempting, isn’t it, to keep believing the worst, the most malicious rumours. But Perroncel did not deserve those months of unmitigated trashing. And now it’s calmed down for her somewhat, I’m not sure what she’s got left. (…) There is still, it seems, an overwhelming sense that she has done wrong somehow, somewhere along the line; that she has committed some crime. We’re extremely attached to that idea as a nation. Yet if anyone should be feeling guilty, it’s probably us.
According to Vernon’s article, Perroncel is now planning to take legal action against any publication which printed “unpleasant” stories about her in relation to the accusations. It is also reported that an “official inquiry” has been launched into claims her phone may have been tapped to intercept private calls.