Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of Britain’s News of the World tabloid, has laid bare her “car-crash” private life in emotional testimony at her phone hacking trial.
The former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct Sunday newspaper spoke of her difficulties becoming a mother during her “roller-coaster” first marriage, and her affair with Andy Coulson, her former deputy, who is standing trial alongside her.
Giving evidence for a second day in the trial at the Old Bailey court in London, Brooks talked about royal stings and the huge deals for exclusives with celebrities such as football icon David Beckham.
Brooks edited Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper between 2000 and 2003, before running its daily sister title The Sun until 2009.
The 45-year-old appeared close to tears and asked for a break as she began talking about her fertility treatment, which was halted by the flurry of work around the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
“It was a tough year for us. Basically, life was put on hold for Iraq,” she said of her marriage with TV actor Ross Kemp.
Brooks divorced Kemp in 2009 and later that year married her second husband, Charlie Brooks – also a co-defendant – with whom she has a two-year-old daughter born via a surrogate mother.
Brooks admitted to having had periods of “physical intimacy” with Coulson in 1998, from 2003 to 2005 and finally in 2006.
Coulson, her News of the World deputy, succeeded her as its editor and later became Prime Minister David Cameron’s media chief.
“My personal life was a bit of a car crash for many years,” Brooks told the court.
Turning to her work, Brooks gave examples of “expensive” one-off payments for exclusive “buy-ups” with celebrities.
She said former England captain Beckham was paid “about STG1 million ($A1.86 million)” for exclusive rights to publish excerpts from his autobiography.
Brooks said she did not know that private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was contracted to the News of the World during her editorship.
He was later jailed in 2007 for hacking voicemails.
Brooks is charged with conspiring in voicemail hacking, conspiring to bribe public officials and two counts of trying to cover up her alleged crimes.
She, Coulson and six other defendants deny all the charges against them.
The case, expected to run into May, was adjourned until Tuesday.