Dr Christian Jessen did not want to cause Arlene Foster ‘distress’ with affair tweet
A celebrity doctor has said that he did not want to cause Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster “any distress” when he tweeted an unsubstantiated rumour of an extra-marital affair.
Dr Christian Jessen told the High Court in Belfast that the allegation would have been “unpleasant” for her.
Dr Jessen sent the tweet on December 23 2019.
He told the court that he posted the tweet based on rumours he read about on social media.
“There was extensive online comments about this rumour,” Dr Jessen told the court.
“It wasn’t just one or two, there were many hundreds of tweets going back quite some time about this rumour.
“It seems too prolifically talked about to have been conjured from thin air.
“The comments and articles that were around at the time. It was covered in a number of disconnected websites.”
Last week Mrs Foster told a court she was humiliated by unfounded allegations of an affair with a protection officer.
The Democratic Unionist party leader is suing the TV doctor for tweeting the unsubstantiated rumour of an extramarital relationship.
She told the high court in Belfast last week it was a personal attack that sought to destabilise her at a politically fraught moment.
She said she had to have an “upsetting” conversation with her husband. “It was very humiliating to see that the relationship that’s most important to me had been trashed if you like and put out there in the public domain in that fashion. One of the things that gives me stability is my home relationship – it was almost as if this cut to the very core of my life.”
The court heard that Jessen, a presenter on the Channel 4 show Embarrassing Bodies, sent the initial tweet on 23 December 2019. It was retweeted more than 500 times and the court heard he had followed up with other “aggravating” tweets. He had more than 300,000 Twitter followers.
He was described in court last week as a medical doctor who practises as a GP on Harley Street in London.