Hugh Grant Says the Tabloids Invaded His Privacy in This Disturbing Way
The star just opened up about all the scary methods reporters used to monitor him.
Hugh Grant became a major movie star when Four Weddings and a Funeral came out in 1994. More rom-com hits followed, plus a media frenzy when he was arrested while cheating on his long-time partner, model Elizabeth Hurley. Throughout the ups and downs of his career and personal life, one constant was the press scrutiny. In the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey, which touched on the destructive impact the British tabloids had on their lives, Grant opened up about the frightening lengths those same papers went to in order to score scoops about him. Read on to find out how his privacy was invaded, and for more fallout from that bombshell interview, here's The Comment That Made Piers Morgan Storm Off His Show Before Quitting.
Grant couldn't make a move without the tabloids knowing about it.
Appearing on Marc Maron's WTF podcast, Grant detailed the ways in which the British tabloids would track his every move and monitor his private conversations.
"It wasn't just my cellphone messages that were being accessed, it was also my home line," the actor told Maron, via The Hollywood Reporter. "For years and years, they were listening."
The actor also said that his personal medical records were somehow accessed by reporters. "And my car had bugs put into it so they knew where I was," he added.
For more celebrity news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
For years, he's been pushing back against these invasive practices.
Grant has brought lawsuits against several newspapers whose phone hacking methods had been exposed back in 2011. The latest settlement was reached in 2018 in a legal battle involving Mirror Group Newspapers, as reported by Reuters. "This newspaper group has misled the public and its shareholders for many years; and it has let down its readers and its hard-working journalists," Grant said in a statement.
The star also announced that he would be putting the cash he won in these settlements into the organization Hacked Off, which was founded in response to the reveal of these unethical reporting strategies and "campaigns for a free and accountable press," per its website. Grant serves on Hacked Off's board.
For another actor who's had enough of media scrutiny, check out Jonah Hill Gets Real About Body Shaming After Tabloid Prints Beach Photos.
And now he's friendly with some of the very people who used to listen in.
Grant told Maron that he learned of some of these other tabloid tactics from reporters he's met through his work with Hacked Off. Because "the editors, executives and owners of these newspapers have got away scot-free, while some of these foot soldiers have gone to jail," the actor said, employees of those papers are "coming over to our side and spilling the beans."
His involvement with the organization has led to some interesting run-ins with individuals who used to surveil him, he revealed on the podcast. He's even hosted some of them in his home at Hacked Off events.
"And they love to say at these parties, 'Now, Hugh, I don't think you've met Nobby. He broke into your flat in 1999.' And I have to go, 'Hi, Nob. Welcome. Make yourself at home. I think you know where everything is.'"
For a career move Grant regrets, check out Hugh Grant Says This Movie Almost Killed His Career.
Grant has empathy for Harry and Meghan.
In January of last year, Grant addressed Harry and Meghan's decision to step back from their senior royal duties while on Andy Cohen's Sirius XM show. "I'm rather on Harry's side," he said, per The Guardian. "The tabloid press effectively murdered his mother, now they're tearing his wife to pieces." (Princess Diana's vehicle was being chased by paparazzi before her fatal crash in 1997.)
He also said that he supported Harry's duty to "protect his family" from the attention. For more on that story, check out This Late-Night Host Completely Predicted Meghan & Harry's Exit in 2018.