Alex Best in "legal claim" against Bloomsbury

Alex Best in "legal claim" against Bloomsbury

Football star George Best's widow, Alex Best, has made a legal claim against Bloomsbury surrounding the veracity of journalist Celia Walden's book, Babysitting George.

The Observer reports Best's former mistress, Gina Devivo, was supporting Alex Best to claim "that a new book about the period leading up to his [George Best's] death is largely fiction".

Speaking to the paper, Devivo described the work as being by someone "with a very good imagination". She added: "I am most angry for George, because he is not here to defend himself. It just didn't happen that way. George would be absolutely livid. He only ever spent a few days with Celia and had no rapport with her at all.

"I did tell Celia it was wrong before publication and she told me she would put something in the front of the book saying it had all happened 'to the best of her memory'. In the end, though, she thanks me for my 'continuing friendship' in the first pages even though she hadn't seen me for eight years."

The book focuses on time Walden spent with Best when she was sent by the Mail on Sunday to Malta in August 2003 to prevent the footballer, suffering with alcoholism, from speaking to reporters on rival papers.

Alex Best's mother Cheryl Pursey also denies she argued publicly with her son-in-law, as Walden describes in the book, according to the article.

Devivo is aiming to prove an account of a fight Walden describes between Best and a man in a bar did not happen, says the paper. Devivo added: "The book is going to upset everyone. And the worst thing is this is all going to go down as a piece of history."

A Bloomsbury spokesperson said the publisher was unable to comment on the situation, and would not confirm that a legal claim had been lodged.