A former model has won a defamation case against a Vietnamese news website for a story about her private life that described her as a drug user and accused her of mistreating her parents.
Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, who now resides in the US, said in her complaint that the story on the Doi Song va Phap Luat (Life and Law) website has damaged her reputation.
The story published in December 2013 included allegations that Thuy and her boyfriend, who shared an apartment in San Jose, had drug problems and were not taking care of their children.
According to the story, Thuy also threw her parents out of her apartment after they flew to the US to visit her.
After the article was published, and also reposted on several other websites, Thuy denied all the allegations and requested that the editorial board publish a correction. The site refused to do so, prompting her to file a lawsuit.
The news website has defended the story, saying that it was written based on what her parents had said during an interview.
A file photo of Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, a former model who has recently won a defamation suit against a local news website.
During the trial in Hanoi on Thursday, her parents confirmed that they were correctly quoted in the report and all the details were true.
However, the court ruled that the news website published the one-sided story without fact-checking and seeking comments from Thuy.
Thuy, 34, also provided official reports from US authorities which confirmed that she had showed no signs of drug use or child neglect and that she had never forced her parents to leave her house.
The court concluded that the website has defamed her and must apologize to her and compensate her.
Thuy only demanded a symbolic amount of VND1 million (US$45).
Even though she quit modeling many years ago, Thuy and her private life has never stopped receiving the mostly undue attention of several newspapers in Vietnam.
She and her ex-husband, a wealthy Viet kieu businessman, have been embroiled in a protracted court battle over VND288 billion ($13.6 million) worth of assets since 2011.
In September last year, a Ho Chi Minh City court announced that the former model sued her mother over the ownership of five villas in southern Vietnam.
On Friday morning, after the trial, Thuy wrote on her Facebook that she wants to reconcile with her parents.
“I honestly want to come back and take care of you mom and dad, like I did all those years,” she wrote. “I will choose to trust you one more time, please support me and heal our family again.”