herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Tulisa PA sorry for Cowell gay claim

Tulisa Contostavlos's personal assistant has apologised for making claims about Simon Cowell's private life which were heard in court prior to the collapse of the singer's trial, and said he had been drunk at the time.

Gareth Varey, the aide to the former X Factor judge, was heard to have said media mogul Cowell was gay during a video recording that was played in court last week.

X Factor boss Cowell's lawyers issued a statement on Monday - following the collapse of Contostavlos's trial over drug supply allegations - denying the claims made against him, which they said had made him appear to be not telling the truth about his sexuality.

Varey said yesterday that he does not know why he made the comment to undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood, which he conceded was "not true" but said it was probably because he was "so drunk".

Varey said: "On 10 May, 2013, in the course of seeking to entrap Tulisa, Mazher Mahmood supplied Tulisa, me and others with a lot of alcohol.

lies

"I can no longer recall all of the details of that evening but I have listened to the recording made by Mahmood. I was clearly very drunk.

"At some point and utterly out of the blue Mahmood asked me if Simon Cowell was gay. I said he was. This is not true. I do not know why I said it, but assume it is because I was so drunk."

The trial was halted on Monday after the judge said there were "strong grounds to believe" that Mahmood - known as the "Fake Sheikh" - had "lied" at an earlier hearing.

Contostavlos had denied brokering a drugs deal, which had been reported in The Sun on Sunday last year. Mahmood has been suspended by the paper.

Cowell's legal representatives spoke out after the case was stopped to clarify that the music and TV boss was not gay.

They added: "The issue was the false suggestion made by Mr Varey that Simon, who is renowned for his honesty, had thus not been truthful in the public arena and this is what we have been obliged to clarify."

hnews@herald.ie

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