Heather Mills launched an extraordinary tirade against the media today for portraying her as “a whore, a gold-digger, a fantasist and a liar”.
Speaking on GMTV, the estranged wife of ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney accused the press of peddling lies and “pushing her to the edge”.
“They’ve called me a whore, a gold-digger, a fantasist, a liar, the most unbelievably hurtful things, and I’ve stayed quiet for my daughter,” she told GMTV presenters Andrew Castle and Fiona Phillips.
“We’ve had death threats, I’ve been close to suicide. I’m so upset about this… I’ve had worse press than a paedophile or a murderer and I’ve done nothing but charity for 20 years.”
She said the media had led a “hate campaign” against her. “Who created those death threats? The media. A certain part of the tabloid media created such a hate campaign against me, it put my life and my daughter’s life at risk.
“That’s why I considered killing myself, because I thought if I was dead, at least my daughter would be safe.”
Brandishing a dossier of clippings she said she had endured “18 months of abuse and 4,400 abusive articles”.
Mills said she had never used the press other than to promote charity projects, and vowed to take the fight to the media.
“I’m up to here with it,” she added. “My plan is to change the law in the European Parliament and I will do it. And I’m fed up with the specific portion of the media.
“Some of them are still supportive but a specific portion are abusing me. I will investigate each and every one of those journalists.”
Mills contrasted her position with the friendly relationship Sir Paul enjoys with the media as the couple thrash out a divorce settlement in the high court.
“It’s fine that Paul can walk in [to court] going ‘Are you all right’, and I’m hiding and I am the one that is abused daily,” she said.
“I have protected Paul for this long and I am trying to protect him but I am being pushed to the edge and I don’t want my daughter when she is 12 going on the internet reading this totally one-sided story.”
Mills added that reported figures about the settlement she was claiming were “made up”, saying that she was £1.5m in debt to her lawyers.
She also castigated the press for the treatment of Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of the missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann.
“Look what they’re doing to the McCanns,” said Mills. “The woman has lost, and the poor father, have lost their daughter. What are we doing as a nation?”
“What are we doing persecuting a woman that is devastated behind closed doors and trying to hold it together, as I have for 18 months. What did the paparazzi do to Diana? They chased her and they killed her.”
She told viewers to stop buying papers to encourage a different kind of reporting.
“Every time you buy one of those, you contribute to it. So force a change for responsible journalism.”
She also took swipes at TV host Jonathan Ross and at celebrity couple Jordan and Peter Andre.
“My sister was crying her eyes out because that awful Jordan and Peter Andre did a joke on Sunday and I’ve had six amputee girls crying their eyes out because they’re getting bullied at school because people are joking about the loss of my limb,” Mills said.
“Jonathan Ross said ‘She’s such an effing liar, we’re going to find out she’s got two legs instead of one’.”