Heather Locks Horns With The Tabloids

What promised to be the most public and acrimonious celebrity divorce in decades started living up to that billing as Heather Mills McCartney locked horns in a heated front-page battle with the U.K. tabloids.

Her 20-minute appearance on GMTV’s breakfast news November 1, a BBC Radio Five interview two hours later and another slot on U.S. TV’s "Today" programme were part of a tabloid-bashing media offensive that soon had the red-tops fighting back.

"They’ve called me a whore, a gold digger, a fantasist, a liar," she told GMTV viewers, which had the following day’s front pages suggesting she’s lost it and needs help.

"It’s like what they are doing to the McCanns. What are they doing persecuting that woman? Look what they did to Diana," she added, which had the inkies questioning how she had the cheek to liken her position and circumstances to Princess Diana’s at the time of her death or Kate McCann’s current misery.

The Guardian was among the papers pointing out that she didn’t really compare herself to Lady Di or Kate McCann: She said she gets the same sort of treatment from the tabloid press and in all three cases feels that treatment has been intrusive and unfair.

Mills says it’s driven her to the brink of suicide because she feels her daughter Beatrice – who’s also had threats to her life – wouldn’t be under so much threat if she wasn’t around.

She told GMTV that "pedophiles and murderers" get better press.

A couple of the tabloids quoted PR guru Max Clifford saying she’s only made "a bad situation even worse." Most of the papers, including the so-called serious ones, pointed out that her publicist resigned over her decision to go public on the U.K.’s main independent TV network.

The American media was treated to more nitty-gritty stuff as Mills told NBC’s "The Today Show" that McCartney should "take responsibility for the breakdown of their marriage" and attacked his daughter Stella because "she’s done some evil, evil things."

As for Macca himself, he’s stayed out of the media spotlight other than for the reviews of his performance at London’s Electric Proms.

In the wake of his soon-to-be ex-wife’s outbursts and tirades, he looks to have decided that a dignified silence is the best response. But he’ll have been left in no doubt that the gloves are off.