Kidman tells court of pursuit by photographer

NICOLE KIDMAN told a courtroom yesterday how she was reduced to tears and feared a car accident after a celebrity photographer pursued her two years ago.

Ms Kidman, who divides her time between Los Angeles and her hometown of Sydney, Australia, was testifying in the photographer’s defamation suit against a Sydney newspaper that slammed him for allegedly hounding the Oscar-winning actress.

Ms Kidman appeared calm and composed during the session in the New South Wales state Supreme Court.

Her poise contrasted sharply with her description of the ride from her house in Sydney to her parents’ home in another part of the city for dinner on January 23, 2005.

Ms Kidman described hunkering down in the car’s back seat — leaning over in her chair in the witness stand to demonstrate — to try to avoid being spotted by photographer Jamie Fawcett.

She said the trip quickly turned into a hair-raising chase as a vehicle carrying Mr Fawcett and another vehicle, believed to contain his assistant, lurched through traffic around Ms Kidman’s car.

“I was frightened and I was worried there was going to be an accident,” she said.

Ms Kidman said she was “really, really scared” during the car ride and that she was “in tears and distressed” by the time she reached her parents’ house.

Mr Fawcett, a well-known celebrity photographer in Sydney, is suing The Sun-Herald newspaper for defamation over an article that said he was Sydney’s most disliked freelance photographer and was determined to “wreak havoc” on Ms Kidman’s private life.

A jury has already found that the article defamed Mr Fawcett. The current hearing is to decide whether the newspaper’s publisher, Fairfax Media, should pay the photographer damages, and how much.

Ms Kidman described two other times that Mr Fawcett had allegedly been intrusive when trying to photograph her — once while she was on her honeymoon with country music star Keith Urban in Tahiti in mid-2006, and once after Christmas in Sydney last year. She said he was one of the reasons she employed full-time security guards.

“I have been pursued many times,” Kidman said. “I have had this happen in relation to this particular man ... so many times.

“I employ people to protect me now. I employ people 24 hours to protect myself because I don’t feel equipped to handle things,” she said.

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