December 16, 2005 08:05 AM

Teri Hatcher will receive “very substantial” libel damages and a front-page apology from the British publication The Daily Sport over what her lawyer called “grossly defamatory allegations” about the Desperate Housewives star’s sex life, the London High Court ruled Friday.

Daily Sport attorney David Hirst said the paper was sorry for the distress caused by the “entirely false” stories that were published on July 25 and Aug. 3. Hirst told the court that the story had come from a “trusted” source that the editors no longer believe. The paper falsely reported that Hatcher had a “passion wagon” in which she entertained men.

“The defendant was not alone in publishing the allegations” – the National Enquirer in the U.S. has apologized for publishing a similar story, Hatcher’s law firm says – “but accepts that this does not relieve it of liability for its own publication,” said Hirst. Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Hatcher’s attorney, Simon Smith, told the court: “The grossly defamatory allegations are entirely false, deeply offensive and utterly without foundation.”

Hatcher, who did not appear in court Friday, said in a statement after the hearing: “Anyone who has ever entered a legal proceeding knows that when you are totally in the right, it still takes a lot of energy to move forward this kind of proceeding.

“This is probably why more celebrities do not fight back against every made-up story … But when a story appeared about me, insinuating that I am an irresponsible and neglectful parent, I had to draw the line. I will never allow any tabloid to so egregiously attack the area of my life which I give top priority, and that is my parenting.”

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