Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish took exception to a claim that their spaniel bit a five-year-old girl and even called the reported incident “false and seriously defamatory,” according to the BBC.
The couple brought proceedings against News Group Newspapers and have now accepted “significant damages” over the story that was titled “Elton’s Dog Did This To My Girl.”
The article originally ran as a front page cover story in The Sun with the couple behind the claim saying their daughter was inflicted with “Freddy Krueger-like” injuries while on a play date.
John and Furnish married in 2014 and have two children – Zachary, who is 7 and Elijah, who is five.
The article insinuated that the dog bit the child at the Grammy Award-winning musician’s Berkshire home in February 2016.
According to solicitor Jenny Afia, the story claimed the girl had been “subjected to a serious attack” and that John and Furnish “failed to make any attempt to find out how the little girl was…despite being aware of the incident.”
“The truth is that the injuries were not serious, and the claimants, far from ignoring the incident, made several inquiries about the girl’s welfare to her father and nanny,” Justice Matthew Nicklin was told in court. “Each time it was confirmed the girl was fine.”
“I am pleased to say that the newspaper has now accepted unequivocally that this allegation was false and seriously defamatory,” said Jeffrey Smele, solicitor for News Group Newspapers. “As a result, it has agreed now to apologize to Sir Elton John and David Furnish, and to pay significant damages as well as to reimburse their legal costs.”
Furthermore, “the defendant offers its apology to the claimants and is pleased that the matter has been amicably resolved,” Smele said.
John and Furnish were reportedly not present during the hearing in London’s High Court on Friday.