Rebekah Mary Brooks (née Wade; born 27 May 1968) is a British journalist and former newspaper editor. She was chief executive officer of News International from 2009 to 2011, having previously served as the youngest editor of a British national newspaper at News of the World, from 2000 to 2003, and the first female editor of The Sun, from 2003 to 2009. Brooks married actor Ross Kemp in 2002. They divorced in 2009 and she married former racehorse trainer and author Charlie Brooks.
27 May 1968
|Occupation||CEO, News UK|
Journalist, newspaper editor, media executive
|The Post, The Sun, News of the World|
(m. 2002; div. 2009)
Charlie Brooks (m. 2009)
Brooks was a prominent figure in the News International phone hacking scandal, having been the editor of the News of the World from 2000 to 2003 when one of the stories which involved illegal phone hacking was carried out by the newspaper. Following a criminal trial in 2014 she was cleared of all charges by a jury at the Old Bailey, which accepted her defence: that in the circumstances she had no knowledge of the illegal acts carried out by staff at the newspaper.
Brooks was born Rebekah Mary Wade in Warrington, Lancashire (now Cheshire), to a father variously described as a tugboat deckhand and gardener. Brooks grew up in Daresbury, to the south of Warrington, and when she was 14 decided she wanted to be a journalist. She attended Appleton Hall High School – a state comprehensive school that had previously been a grammar school – in Appleton, Warrington. A childhood friend, Louise Weir, described her as "more emotionally intelligent than academic", charming and always able to get what she wanted out of people.
In Brooks's entry in Who's Who she stated that she had studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, but did not claim to have a degree, and did not later answer questions about this. In a 2003 Spectator article, Stephen Glover suggested that, since she was working at the age of 20 for the News of the World, "we can safely assume that she did not study at the Sorbonne in any meaningful way". In 2010, Brooks was awarded an honorary Fellowship from the University of the Arts, London, for her contribution to journalism. She attended the London College of Communication, now part of the university, as a student.
The commentator Henry Porter claims little is known of Brooks personally. Tim Minogue, who was one of her first co-editors before becoming a journalist at Private Eye magazine, recalled a "likeable, skinny, hollow-eyed girl who was very ambitious".
After school she worked for the French magazine L'architecture d'aujourd'hui in Paris, before returning to Britain to work for Eddy Shah's Messenger Group. Graham Ball, the then features editor at The Post newspaper, recalled that she was a notably astute and intelligent staff member. When The Post was disbanded, Brooks then moved to the News of the World.
News of the WorldEdit
She joined the Sunday newspaper News of the World in 1989 as a secretary, before working as a feature writer for its Sunday magazine, eventually becoming the paper's deputy editor. In 1994, she prepared for the News of the World's interview with James Hewitt, a lover of Diana, Princess of Wales, by reserving a hotel suite and hiring a team to "kit it out with secret tape devices in various flowerpots and cupboards", Piers Morgan, her former boss, wrote in his memoir The Insider, The New York Times relayed in July 2011. In 1998, she transferred to the News of the World's daily counterpart, The Sun for a short time. She then returned to the News of the World in 2000 as editor; at the time, she was the youngest editor of a national British newspaper.
While at the News of the World, Brooks oversaw its campaign of "naming and shaming" individuals suspected to be convicted child sex offenders—a campaign launched in the wake of the murder of Sarah Payne while hacking her mother's voicemail. The paper's decision led to angry mobs terrorising those they suspected of being child sex offenders, which included several cases of mistaken identity and one instance where a paediatrician had her house vandalised, apparently by people who thought her occupation meant she was a paedophile.
The campaign was described as "grossly irresponsible" journalism by the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, Tony Butler, but Brooks defended the paper's actions on the BBC's Breakfast with Frost, claiming that it was "only right that the public have controlled access" to information on sex offenders. The paper's already strong sales held up well under her leadership, while those of rival Sunday newspapers The People and the Sunday Mirror fell more sharply.
In January 2003, she returned to The Sun, replacing her former boss David Yelland, to become its first female editor. On Brooks's first day as editor, the Page 3 girl was Rebekah Parmar-Teasdale – the caption to the picture was "Rebekah from Wapping". Soon after becoming editor, Brooks ran the headline "Bonkers Bruno Locked Up" concerning the mental health problems of former heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno. The next day The Sun ran a 600-word reply from the head of the mental health charity SANE and since then has adopted a style guide on covering mental health stories prepared by the same charity. Brooks and her husband spent a day with the head of SANE and made donations to the charity.
On her appointment as editor of The Sun she said "It's the best job in newspapers." It was said of her by David Yelland, a former editor of The Sun "She's good at schmoozing showbusiness people. She can turn people over and have dinner with them the next day".
During a March 2003 appearance before the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport as part of an inquiry into privacy issues, Brooks stated that her newspaper had paid police for information. Alison Clark, the director of corporate affairs at News International, later stated, "It is not company practice to pay police for information."
Brooks has been chairman of the organisation Women in Journalism and has served as a judge for the "Guardian Student Media Awards" in November 2003 and the tenth annual Police Bravery Awards in July 2005, the latter sponsored by The Sun.
In June 2009, it was announced that she would leave The Sun in September 2009, to become chief executive of the newspaper's parent company, News International. Dominic Mohan was named her successor as editor of The Sun.
Brooks received £10.8m for leaving News International.
Phone hacking scandalEdit
A police enquiry revealed that the News of the World had a routine practice of intercepting mobile phone messages of celebrities, politicians and other public figures. The newspaper's reporter, Clive Goodman, and Glenn Mulcaire, a hired investigator, were convicted and jailed for intercepting the phone messages of members of the Royal Family in 2006.
Questioning by MPsEdit
In 2003, under questioning by the Chris Bryant MP of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of Commons, Brooks and Andy Coulson were asked whether either of their newspapers had ever been involved in various improper acts. Brooks replied "We have paid police for information in the past". Andy Coulson stepped in to say that payments were only made lawfully. The Sun, of which Brooks was editor, subsequently ridiculed Chris Bryant in a number of articles, starting with one about a photograph of him in his underpants from a gay dating website. Bryant has publicly alleged that his phone hacked in 2003 by the News of the World, the paper which Brooks had been editor of until that year before being succeeded by Colson (News International was later ordered to pay Bryant £30,000 by a High Court judge in 2012 after Bryant filed a lawsuit).  Brooks later claimed that in her response to Bryant's question she had merely been speaking about the widespread belief that payments had been made to police and denied having any knowledge of specific payments.
According to MPs, Rebekah Brooks refused three times to attend the committee again to be questioned further, resulting in four committee members "considering asking the Serjeant at Arms to issue a warrant forcing Brooks to attend". It was claimed by Adam Price, a former Plaid Cymru MP, that the committee members subsequently dropped this proposal because they were warned by the chair of the committee, John Whittingdale, that their private lives would be investigated if they did so. However, this was not an accurate account of what was said since John Whittingdale stated there was a conversation "about the possible repercussions of issuing a warrant for Brooks but said that did not have any bearing on his decision and he did not believe News International would target committee members".
In 2011, The Guardian and a solicitor alleged that in 2002, when Brooks was editor, the paper had hacked the voicemail of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler (later found to be murdered), to access messages left by her parents. It was later established that Brooks had been on holiday and out of the country when the story which referred to a message on the schoolgirl's phone was published and that, consequently, she did not edit the paper that day or read the article in question and, therefore, could not have known about the phone hacking. She was found not guilty of phone hacking at her trial in 2014.
In July 2011, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said Brooks should "consider her position" after the Milly Dowler allegations. Prime Minister David Cameron said that if Brooks had offered her resignation to him, he would have accepted it. Milly Dowler's parents also called for Brooks's resignation.
When Brooks told News of the World staff that the newspaper was being closed down, some reportedly said that all of their jobs had been sacrificed to save hers. Andreas Whittam Smith suggested that Brooks's decision not to resign was symptomatic of "the self-serving, conceited thesis that 'only I, who was at the helm during the disaster, can steer us to safety'".
Having previously had an offer of resignation rejected, Brooks resigned from News International on 15 July 2011. She said, "As chief executive of the company, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place. I have believed that the right and responsible action has been to lead us through the heat of the crisis. However my desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate. This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavours to fix the problems of the past. Therefore I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted".
The Daily Telegraph reported that despite resigning from her position, Brooks remained on the company payroll and continued to receive her salary from News International, having been told by Rupert Murdoch to "travel the world on him for a year".
In September 2015, Brooks was reappointed as CEO of the company, now named News UK.
Arrests and prosecutionEdit
On 17 July 2011, Brooks was arrested by police on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption allegations. She was arrested by detectives working on Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police's phone hacking probe, and Operation Elveden, the probe examining illicit payments to police officers. Brooks's public relations agent Dave Wilson told CNN that she did not know she was going to be arrested when she arrived for a pre-arranged interview with London's Metropolitan Police Service. After 12 hours in custody, Brooks was released on bail until October 2011. On 13 March 2012, Brooks was rearrested, together with her husband, on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Ninety people have been arrested in conjunction with illegal acquisition of confidential information since police renewed investigations in 2011, many of them employees or agents of newspapers for which Brooks had responsibilities. Sixteen have been formally charged with crimes.
On 15 May 2012, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charged Brooks and five others with conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Charged along with Brooks regarding removal of documents and computers to conceal them from investigating detectives were her husband, her personal assistant, her bodyguard, her chauffeur, and the head of security at News International. These charges were made about 1 year after the Metropolitan Police Service reopened its dormant investigation into phone hacking, about 3 years after the then Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service told the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee that "no additional evidence has come to light," five years after News International executives began claiming that phone hacking was the work of a single "rogue reporter", 10 years after The Guardian began reporting that the Met had evidence of widespread illegal acquisition of confidential information, and 13 years after the Met began accumulating "boxloads" of that evidence, including information sources for News of the World journalists, but kept it unexamined in trash bags at Scotland Yard.
The press have noted social ties between Brooks and various members of the Establishment. In 2008 she borrowed a retired police horse from the Metropolitan Police which she kept on her Oxfordshire farm, where it was ridden by David Cameron. In December 2010, a dinner party was attended by Cameron and James Murdoch. Brooks was once also a friend of Tony and Cherie Blair; and Gordon and Sarah Brown. Her wedding to Charlie Brooks in 2009 was attended by Gordon Brown and David Cameron.
Shortly before her arrest, she had an hour-long telephone conversation with Tony Blair. He offered to act as an unofficial advisor to Brooks and to Rupert and James Murdoch. Blair told Brooks that this arrangement should remain private. He offered her advice on how to deal with the phone hacking scandal. Making reference to the Hutton Inquiry, which had cleared his government of wrongdoing related to the death of a biological warfare expert, Blair advised Brooks to set up an internal inquiry which would clear her of wrongdoing in the phone hacking scandal.
Brooks became engaged to actor Ross Kemp (best known for portraying the volatile hardman Grant Mitchell in EastEnders) in 1996, and married him in June 2002 in Las Vegas. On 3 November 2005, it was reported that Brooks had been arrested following an alleged assault on her husband. She was released without charge, and the police took no further action. The Sun had been running a campaign against domestic violence at the time. The couple had spent the previous evening in the company of the former Cabinet Minister David Blunkett, who had resigned for the second time on that day. At her trial in 2013, it was revealed that Brooks and her colleague Andy Coulson had an affair between mid-1998 to around 2007, during her marriage to Kemp.
Private Eye and The Independent reported the couple had separated; this was not widely reported in the remainder of the British press. The 7 March 2008 issue of Private Eye refers to her "paramour", former racehorse trainer and author Charlie Brooks. The Guardian reported on 5 June 2009 that she was to marry Brooks. The Independent reported Brooks and her fiancé had married in a lakeside ceremony in June 2009. The couple are key members of the Chipping Norton set, and live in Churchill, Oxfordshire, and London.
It was announced by Bell Pottinger that Rebekah and Charlie Brooks were expecting a daughter in early 2012 via a surrogate mother. A daughter was born at the private Portland Hospital in London on 25 January 2012.
- "Search 'person REBEKAH MARY BROOKS'". Comdevelopment. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005.; at ancestry.com
- "Sir Paul Stephenson resigns hours after Rebecca Brooks is arrested". Liverpoolecho.co.uk. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- Stourton, Edward (15 July 2011). "Profile: News International chief Rebekah Brooks". BBC. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "Ross Kemp granted quickie divorce". Digital Spy. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- "The Media Guardian 100: 53. Rebekah Wade". The Guardian. London. 8 July 2002. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Sandle, Paul (23 June 2009). "UPDATE 2-UK Sun editor Wade to be News International CEO". Reuters.
- "Hacking trial: Coulson guilty, Brooks cleared of charges". BBC news. 24 June 2014.
- Allen, Gavin. "News Corp boss Rebekah Brooks' personal assistant of 19 years arrested in phone-hacking investigation". Daily Mail. London.
- Sefton, Eliot. "Rebekah Brooks: from secretary to controversy". The First Post. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- "Rebekah Wade: Profile". BBC News. 13 January 2003. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Glover, Stephen (1 February 2003). "Is it my imagination, or is the Sun getting smuttier?". The Independent. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Jessica Shepherd and David Batty (9 July 2011). "Phone hacking: University urged to retract Rebekah Brooks honorary award". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Esther Addley (8 July 2011). "Rebekah Brooks: A ruthless, charming super-schmoozer | Media". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Lyall, Sarah (7 July 2011). "A Tenacious Rise to the Top in the Brutal Men's World of Tabloids". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "Paper defends paedophile campaign". BBC News. 16 December 2001. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- "Police condemn vigilante violence". BBC News. 4 August 2000. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- "Vigilante attack on innocent man". BBC News. 25 July 2000. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- "Paediatrician attacks 'ignorant' vandals". BBC News. 30 August 2000. Archived from the original on 25 August 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Byrne, Ciar (7 April 2003). "Fresh apology over Sun paedophile mix-up". The Guardian. London.
- "BBC Breakfast with Frost Interview: Rebekah Wade: Editor, News of the World". BBC News. 16 December 2001. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Greenslade, Roy (14 January 2003). "Empress of the Sun". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Irvine, Ian (5 November 2005). "Rebekah Wade: The feisty first lady of Wapping". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 26 April 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Gibson, Owen; Byrne, Ciar (24 September 2003). "Sun makes donation to charity after Bruno gaffe". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Mitchell, Kevin (6 June 2004). "Totally Frank". The Observer. London. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Wells, Matt (12 March 2003). "Sun editor admits paying police officers for stories". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Kiss, Jemima (13 November 2003). "Blunt: a cut above the rest". Journalism.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 September 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- "Gloucestershire Officer Victorious in 10th Bravery Awards" (PDF) (Press release). Police Federation of England and Wales. 14 July 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Brook, Stephen (26 August 2009). "Dominic Mohan named Sun editor". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
- Sabbagh, Dan; O'Carroll, Lisa (12 December 2012). "Rebekah Brooks took £10.8m compensation from News Corp". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
- Sweney, Mark; Greenslade, Roy (2 September 2015). "Rebekah Brooks' return confirmed..." The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
- Williamson, David (15 April 2011). "Rhondda MP Chris Bryant to sue in phone-hacking scandal". walesonline. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
- Deans, Jason; Hill, Amelia; O'Carroll, Lisa (19 January 2012). "Phone hacking: News International to pay out to 37 victims". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
- Robinson, James (11 April 2011). "Rebekah Brooks: I have no knowledge of actual payments to police". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- Newman, Cathy (10 September 2010). "Exclusive: MPs backed off over phone hacking probe". London: Channel 4 News/ITN.
- Watt, Nicholas (10 September 2010). "MPs backed down from calling Rebekah Brooks to Commons". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
- "Former News of the World Editor Testifies to British Inquiry" (11 May 2012) CSPAN Archived 16 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine – Includes complete video testimony
- Sarah Lyall "Anger Rises Over Hack to Missing Girl's Voice Mail", The New York Times, 5 July 2011
- Adam Gabbatt, et al. "Miliband says Brooks must consider her position over phone hacking", The Guardian, 5 July 2011
- Ward, Victoria (8 July 2011). "News of the World closed down: newspaper staff direct fury at Rebekah Brooks". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Andreas Whittam Smith: If we don't act now, worse will follow – Andreas Whittam Smith, Commentators". The Independent. London. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Robert Mackey (15 July 2011). "Saudi Investor Suggested Brooks Had to Go". The New York Times.
- John F. Burns; Jeremy W. Peters (15 July 2011). "2 Top Deputies Resign as Crisis Isolates Murdoch". The New York Times.
- Rebekah Brooks resigns New Statesman, 15 July 2011
- Tim Walker (6 August 2011). "Phone hacking: 'Rupert Murdoch tells Rebekah Brooks to travel the world'". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Editor free after Kemp 'assault'". BBC News. 3 November 2005. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Raf Sanchez "Phone hacking: Rebekah Brooks arrested", The Daily Telegraph, 17 July 2011
- "Rebekah Brooks arrested over phone hacking and corruption allegations". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 17 July 2011. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- Greene, Richard Allen (18 July 2011). "Rebekah Brooks arrested over UK phone hacking scandal". CNN. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- Dodd, Vikram (18 July 2011). "Rebekah Brooks's arrest intensifies phone-hacking crisis". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- "Phone hacking: Rebekah Brooks arrested in Weeting probe". BBC News. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Phone-hacking police charge Rebekah Brooks". BBC News. 15 May 2012.
- Laville, Sandra (15 May 2012). "Rebekah Brooks charged with perverting the course of justice". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- "Statement from Commissioner" (Press release). Metropolitan Police. 6 July 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers 1889–1899)-Assistant Commissioner John Yates and Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Williams". UK Parliament. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- Sabbagh, Dan (13 March 2012). "Phone-hacking: how the 'rogue reporter' defence slowly crumbled". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- McLagan, Graeme (20 September 2002). "Fraudster squad- Graeme McLagan on the black economy run by corrupt police and private detectives". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
- Davies, Nick (8 June 2011). "Phone-hacking scandal widens to include Kate Middleton and Tony Blair". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- "Phone-hacking: Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson in 2013 tria". BBC. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- "Phone-hacking case judge: British justice on trial" BBC News 29 October 2013, accessed 29 October 2013
- Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had affair, phone-hacking trial hears
- "Hacking trial: Coulson guilty, Brooks cleared of charges". BBC News. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "Rebekah Brooks cleared but Andy Coulson guilty in phone hacking trial". Daily Telegraph. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- John Hall (28 February 2012). "The Independent, 28 February 2012". The Independent. London. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- Hanning, James; Bell, Matthew (10 July 2011). "Rebekah, Dave and the Chipping Norton Set: where power in Britain lies". The Independent. London. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Riddell, Mary (6 November 2005). "What does the Sun say now?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Allen, Nick (13 June 2008). "Gordon Brown's wife Sarah holds slumber party at Chequers". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "Phone-hacking trial: Blair 'advised Brooks before arrest'". BBC News. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- Laville, Sandra; Dodd, Vikram; Wells, Matt (4 November 2005). "The editor, the actor, the (ex) cabinet minister and a night behind bars". The Guardian. London.
- Sheppard, Fergus (4 November 2005). "Script too surreal even for EastEnders". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- "Coulson and Brooks' affair 'lasted longer' than earlier suggested". BBC. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- "Phone hacking trial reveals married Brooks affair with Andy Coulson". BBC. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- "Phone hacking jury told Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had six-year affair". The Guardian. 31 October 2013.
- Murdoch editors Brooks, Coulson had affair, British hacking trial told
- Street-Porter, Janet (29 April 2007). "Editor-At-Large: A cover-up: Hold the front page for Ross and Rebekah". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- Greenslade, Roy (5 June 2009). "Roy Greenslade: Tatler magazine reveals Rebekah Wade's wonderful world". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- Duff, Oliver (24 June 2009). "The red-top redhead who became the first lady of Fleet Street – Press, Media". The Independent. London. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- Glover, Stephen (5 October 2009). "Stephen Glover: What are the chances for the country's first quality freesheet?". The Independent. London. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- Vanity Fair, "Untangling Rebekah Brooks", Suzanna Andrews, February 2012, No. 618
- "Rebekah Brooks becomes a mother". The Guardian. London. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
|Wikinews has news related to:|
- February 2012 Vanity Fair profile of Brooks
- "Rebekah Brooks collected news and commentary". The Guardian.
- "Rebekah Brooks collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
| Deputy Editor of the News of the World
| Deputy Editor of The Sun
| Editor of the News of the World