Rebel Wilson opened up in a tearful interview about her defamation lawsuit against a global magazine publisher, saying it was “devastating” to be labeled a liar.
Wilson told Australian television show “Sunday Night” it was “very stressful” to be the center of a scandal.
“I went from this girl who has just worked her absolute ass off to get where she was to just being torn down in a second, in a 24-hour period,” Wilson said. “It’s very, very stressful when you become in the center of a scandal. And it was so salacious. People were like, ‘She’s fabricating her own life to make it.’”
Wilson recalled feeling her “17 years of hard work” was finally going to pay off after appearing in the film “Pitch Perfect” until articles ran in “Woman’s Day” and “Australian Women’s Weekly” — managed by Bauer Media — claiming the actress had lied about her age, family background and her name. She said the articles damaged her career and calls for acting roles soon stopped.
“People were calling me a liar and a fake, and for someone like me who’s so candid and authentic, it was just probably the most devastating thing they could have said to me,” the 37-year-old actress said.
“After month after month after month, coming up to the 12 months deadline, I thought, I mean, ‘I just have to sue them,’” Wilson said. “I’ve proved very publicly that what I was saying was the truth and that they wrote a bunch of lies, and that I was maliciously defamed.”
Wilson said she never chose to reveal her age and that her name, “Rebel,” was a family nickname she had legally adopted in 2002. She also provided photographic evidence to prove what she said about her upbringing were true, according to “Sunday Night.”
“Yes, I’m an actress, and I’m in the public eye,” she added. “But I’m a human being, who worked really, really hard to get to that point. And then to have it all taken away was just, it was just malicious, and it was ugly.”
Wilson was awarded $3.7 million in defamation damages, the biggest payout in Australian history. Bauer Media is expected to appeal the amount of damages, which the actress called “gross” because she is planning to donate the money to charity.