Supermodel Elle Macpherson fired her business adviser after becoming convinced the aide was responsible for leaking private details to the British tabloid at the centre of the U.K.'s phone hacking scandal.
MACpherson is said to be one of a slew of victims targeted by a private investigator, who intercepted voicemail messages from cell phones belonging to celebrities and crime victims and allegedly passed on juicy information to editors at the News of the World.
A public inquiry into U.K. press standards is underway in London, and on Tuesday (22Nov11), MACpherson's former employee Mary-Ellen Field testified that she had lost her job after the beauty blamed her for sharing her secrets with the press.
Field claimed her relationship with the Aussie stunner began to fall apart as a result of the false accusations in 2005 - all while she was battling a mystery illness.
She told the panel at the Royal Courts of Justice, "It had a very serious affect. I had become ill and was falling down all the time."
MACpherson believed her assistant was simply intoxicated and ordered her to undergo counselling for alcoholism - but instead of protesting her innocence, Field agreed to go to rehab to keep her job.
She explained, "I have a severely disabled child who can never look after himself, so walking away from a high-paying position is not a good idea."
Earlier in the day, comedian Steve Coogan also testified in the ongoing government inquiry into tabloid ethics, insisting the British media had no right to expose scandals in his personal life because he has never courted the press attention.
Publishing boss Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World earlier this year (11) after the phone hacking controversy hit headlines around the world.