Celebrity magazine Now has been forced to apologise to Cheryl Cole after it emerged that claims it published that the Girl Aloud had had an at times romantic email relationship with one time So Solid Crewer MC Harvey were untrue.
Harvey claimed in a Now interview last year that he had enjoyed a secret “communication relationship” with the pop star following her separation from ex-husband Ashley in 2010. Cole immediately denied the claim, asking Harvey direct on Twitter, “Was this ‘relationship’ happening in your head?”
Although Harvey himself subsequently played down his connection to Cole, Now stood by the claims, saying it had seen hundreds of emails between Harvey and Cole that proved the allegation. But after the singer went legal on the matter, it turned out the emails that Harvey believed were genuine were in fact a hoax – ie he’d been having an email relationship with someone pretending to be Cole.
Admitting that Harvey and, by association, it had been taken in by an unknown hoaxer, Now has published an apology, flagged on its cover, and will pay Cole damages and legal costs. Its apology begins: “In an article last February we said that Cheryl Cole had had a secret romantic relationship with Michael Harvey Jr, aka MC Harvey, formerly of the group So Solid Crew”.
It continues: “When Cheryl went to Twitter to deny this we published a second article saying we’d seen emails that evidenced there had been a relationship. Although we had seen several hundred emails, written over a six month period, apparently between Cheryl, her mother and Michael, we are now satisfied that the emails from Cheryl and her mother are not genuine”.
Finally, the statement reads: “[The emails] appear to be the work of a calculated and meticulous hoaxer masquerading as Cheryl who went to great lengths to deceive MC Harvey. The hoaxer’s motives remain unknown but what has become clear is that there was never any relationship between Cheryl and Michael and we were wrong not to accept Cheryl’s denial. We’re sorry, Cheryl, for any embarrassment and upset we have caused you. We have agreed to pay Cheryl damages and her legal costs”.