LOS ANGELES (CN) – Soccer star David Beckham demands $25 million from the publisher of “In Touch Weekly” and a woman who claimed in an Oct. 4 story that he paid her for sex and watched as she engaged in a “girl-on-girl show” for him. Beckham also sued Irma Nici, a self-described former “high class call girl,” and Bauer Publishing Co. and its executive editor Michelle Lee, who he said were “expressly told in advance that the story they proposed to run was false.”
Beckham claims in Superior Court that the story, headlined “David’s Dangerous Betrayal,” is “full of lies,” and exposed him to “hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because it inaccurately portrays [him] as an unfaithful husband who put his and his wife’s health at risk by engaging in sexual acts with prostitutes.”
“Nevertheless they ran the story, deciding to worry later about the size of the damages award a jury would impose,” according to the complaint.
The story, which is attached to the complaint, goes into graphic detail about Nici’s alleged affair with Beckham, which allegedly began at the Parker Meridian hotel in New York and included trysts in Los Angeles and London.
During the one encounter described in the complaint, Beckham allegedly gave Nici $5,000 for several hours of sex, after which she ordered room service and invited a co-worker over to provide additional entertainment for the athlete.
Beckham then agreed to pay Nici an additional $10,000 to spend the night, according to the In Touch article quoted in the complaint.
According to the article, the two met up again a month later at London’s Claridge hotel, where Beckham reportedly paid her $5,000 for 90 minutes of what she characterized as “stress reliever sex.”
In his complaint, however, Beckham described Nici’s account as “libelous and slanderous on their face,” and a “malicious intent to profit from spreading lies.”
Beckham cites Nici’s newly created Web site, on which she claims “she worked as an escort seeing David Beckham,” adding, “outed by a former friend, Irma decided to come clean about her past and tell her story – her way.”
He claims that her “malicious intent to profit” is clear from her offer to sell her photo to media outlets, and her providing an email address to facilitate that contact.
“[These] statements have damaged [Beckham’s] reputation, and caused him great mental anguish and emotional distress,” the complaint states.
Beckham says the story has harmed his life as a professional athlete, endorser and charity spokesperson, and damaged his earning capacity.
In addition to $25 million in compensatory damages, Beckham seeks injunctive relief and punitive damages on claims of libel, slander, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Beckham is represented by Bert Deixler with Proskauer Rose in Los Angeles.