News of the World paid women to sleep with celebrities, James Blunt says

Estimated read time 3 min read

James Blunt claims the News of the World paid women to sleep with celebrities in order to get stories about their sexual performance.

The singer, who settled his legal action against News International in 2012, said the police had sent him emails from the News of the World, which showed that two “beautiful” women were on the payroll of the now closed tabloid “to go out and shag celebrities”.

Speaking at the Hay literary festival in Powys, Blunt was asked about discovering the emails, which he described in his book Loosely Based on a Made-Up Story: a Non-Memoir.

Two women were “on the News of the World’s payroll to go out and fuck celebrities”, Blunt wrote in the book. “The girls would bring the men back to [a] studio flat in Notting Hill, which had a fold-down bed, film the encounter, and then hand it over to the paper. The girls were hot, and I’d met them, and sure enough, I’d done the deed.”

The singer said he had been shocked to read internal emails from Andy Coulson, the then-editor of News of the World, who later went to jail for phone hacking. Coulson “was discussing how best to portray my orgasm” and concluded: “I think he’d sing it.”

Blunt told the Hay audience about his friendship with the actor Carrie Fisher, and said she had been “really mistreating her body” before she died in 2016, partly because of Star Wars bosses putting “pressure on her to be thin”.

Blunt and Fisher met in the 2000s through a woman Blunt was dating at the time, and the Star Wars actor offered him the opportunity to live with her when he moved to LA. While he was living in her home he recorded his first album, Back to Bedlam.

Blunt has previously said Fisher’s daughter, the actor Billie Lourd, blamed him for her death, as he was with her the night before she was found unresponsive on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Fisher died days later, with a toxicology report finding she had cocaine, heroin, MDMA and methadone in her system.

Blunt told the audience at Hay that before Fisher’s death she had been using drugs. “She’d just got the job again of being Princess Leia in the new Star Wars movie, so she was really on a high and a positive, but they had applied a lot of pressure on her to be thin. She spoke about the difficulties that women have in the industry, how men are allowed to grow old, and women are certainly not in film and TV.

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“She really put a lot of pressure on herself, started using drugs again and by the time she got on the plane, she had effectively killed herself,” he said.

Rian Johnson, who directed the 2017 film Star Wars: the Last Jedi has been contacted for comment, as have Lucasfilm, News UK and Andy Coulson.


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