Lawyers for film star Rebel Wilson have told an Australian court that her “world collapsed” when a series of articles published by Bauer Media in 2015 portrayed her as a liar, in a defamation lawsuit brought by the actress against the publisher.

As the case brought by the 37 year old Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids star, real name Melanie Elizabeth Bownds, began in court in Melbourne on Monday (May 22nd), her lawyer Matthew Collins QC claimed that articles claiming that Wilson lied about her age, name and upbringing appeared in several of Bauer Media’s publications, including Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s Weekly.

Rebel WilsonRebel Wilson pictured in April 2016

The supreme court of Victoria heard, on the opening day of the case, that Wilson was a ‘rags to riches’ story whose career had been damaged when her fame was just beginning to reach its peak around two years ago, at about the time that Pitch Perfect 2 was released.

Collins told the court that Wilson felt “she’d never been hit with such nastiness” when Bauer Media published “grubby articles” that defamed her. “Rebel Wilson is an Australian success story. She is extraordinarily talented. But her success is the result of almost two decades of very hard work. It’s a case of how this publisher refused to let facts get in the way of a good story.”

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In the wake of these articles, which claimed that the star lied about having “grown up in a ghetto” when in fact she had attended an “elite private boarding school”, Wilson claims that she stopped being offered roles, was fired from a handful of films, and began taking sleeping tablets to deal with the stress.

Representing Bauer Media, QC Georgina Schoff said dismissed Wilson’s claims and said that she had deliberately told “tall tales” and wanted to add a “touch of fantasy” to her childhood when it came to her media image.

Addressing the jury, Schoff argued no “reasonable reader” would have thought any less of Wilson upon reading the articles, which had “done her no harm” and “weren’t nasty articles”.

The trial continues, with Wilson herself due to give evidence later this week.

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