The Daily Mail, a breathless British tabloid, published an apology to first lady Melania Trump on Wednesday and agreed to pay unspecified damages and costs to settle two lawsuits for publishing an article alleging "racy" rumors about her years as a single model in New York.
"We apologise to Mrs Trump for any distress that our publication caused her," the Mail said.
At issue was an article carried by the Daily Mail and Mail Online in August 2016 under the headline: “Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump.”
The article claimed that Donald Trump and then-Melania Knauss may have met three years before they actually did, and "staged" their actual meeting as a "ruse."
In its apology, the Mail said it retracted its false statements that Melania Trump “provided services beyond simply modeling.”
The first lady’s attorneys argued the articles damaged her ability to build businesses based on her status as a “successful businesswoman.” She sued the tabloid in a British court and the Mail Online in the U.S.
A joint statement issued by both parties said the Mail agreed to pay unspecified damages and costs.
A person familiar with the settlement, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity to disclose the information, said the total settlement for the U.S. and U.K. lawsuits amounted to about $2.9 million.
Although the Mail denied the allegations and stated there was no evidence to support them, the statement noted the original article included her denial of the allegations.
In February, the first lady settled another defamation lawsuit against a Maryland blogger who apologized for an article in which he reported on unfounded rumors that Melania Trump once worked as a high-end escort and suffered a nervous breakdown after her speech at the Republican National Convention, The Washington Post reported.
© Gannett Co., Inc. 2018. All Rights Reserved