LONDON (AP) — Actress Sienna Miller said Friday that she had a "brief encounter" with James Bond star Daniel Craig, but insisted a British tabloid misconstrued the nature of the relationship based on a hacked voicemail message.
Miller told Britain's phone-hacking trial that she probably did leave a message for Craig that ended "I love you." But she said she always signed off to family and friends that way. "The thing that's been slightly misconstrued about this voicemail message is the fact that I said I love you and that this was some incredibly important declaration of love," Miller said.
"I had always ended my phone calls to Daniel 'I love you'; it was a declaration of friendship." Miller testified by video link to the London court from New Orleans at the trial of two former News of the World editors, and five others, over phone hacking and other wrongdoing at the now-defunct tabloid.
The defendants deny a variety of charges, including phone hacking, bribery and obstructing a police investigation. In recent days the trial has focused on evidence from Dan Evans, a former reporter who says he hacked Craig's phone and used the "I love you" message as the basis of 2005 stories about an affair between Craig and Miller. She was then dating actor Jude Law, while Craig was in a relationship with film producer Satsuki Mitchell.
Evans has pleaded guilty to phone hacking, and says top editors were aware of his actions. Defense lawyers have questioned his credibility as a witness, suggesting the affair story could have come from sources other than phone hacking, such as associates of Miller and Law.
Miller, 32, said Evans' description of her voicemail for Craig rang true, and she could see why it would have caused excitement among journalists who heard it. Miller, who sat beside an FBI agent as she gave evidence from the United States, said she had "absolutely never" courted media attention and regretted that her relationship with Craig — her co-star in the 2004 movie "Layer Cake" — had been turned into "a titillating piece of information" for the press.
"Whether or not I was in a relationship with Daniel Craig at the time, it was a very brief encounter," she said. "He was my best friend. My saying 'I love you' was nothing new." After Miller finished her evidence, judge John Saunders thanked her and said: "I am very sorry what has gone on in this court and reported in the press has caused you distress."
Owner Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World in 2011 after details emerged of the scale of its snooping on celebrities, politicians and others in the public eye. The same year Miller accepted 100,000 pounds ($165,000) to settle a phone-hacking lawsuit against the newspaper.