Paul McCartney in second fight to silence Mills

Ex-Beatle attempts to halt legal action

Paul McCartney is fighting a second time to prevent details of his private life being dragged into court, during his divorce from Heather Mills.

The former Beatle is trying to halt a legal action for libel and breach of privacy by his estranged wife against two newspaper publishers, reports The Times.

If he is unsuccessful, the case could result in a public airing of lurid details about their private life.

Last week the former couple failed to reach a private settlement and are set to take their divorce to the open court next February.

The libel and privacy action relates to the leaking of divorce papers in a fax to news organisations last year. It contained claims that McCartney was violent towards Mills.

He may be called as a witness in the action against Associated Newspapers, publishers of The Daily Mail, and News Group Newspapers, publishers of The Sun.

A source close to McCartney explained: “He is happy to deal with [the allegations in the fax], but only behind closed doors. That means in the divorce court.”

McCartney’s offer of £60m if Mills agreed to maintain confidentiality about their private life is understood to include £15m to compensate her for loss of earnings from selling her story.

Mills’ friends say her refusal to accept the clause does not simply mean she is determined to reveal details of their life together in books or on talk shows.

She fears the clause may be used to prevent her defending herself if further allegations are made against her in connection with the marriage.

Contrary to some reports, the divorce hearing will be behind closed doors, a spokesman at the High Court confirmed.

If it were to reach the Court Of Appeal, however, the case would become public.