Meghan Markle's estranged father Thomas published private letters because he felt 'vilified' by press: report
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Meghan Markle's estranged father Thomas has reportedly explained what led him to famously leak a private letter from his daughter to the press.
In 2019, Thomas, 76, allowed a private letter from his daughter to be published by the Mail on Sunday newspaper and on the MailOnline website after tension grew between himself and his daughter.
Meghan, 39, is now suing publisher Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over the five articles that included portions of the handwritten letter.
Now, nearly two years after the publication of the correspondence, Thomas has explained exactly why he felt the need to make the letter public.
The former television lighting director said in court that he felt "vilified" by an article published by People magazine, according to a witness statement obtained by E! News.
"When I read the article 'The Truth About Meghan' in People magazine I was shocked by what it said about me," said the statement. "It was a total lie. It misrepresented the tone and content of the letter Meg had written me in August 2018 quickly decided I wanted to correct that misrepresentation."
Thomas Markle, father of Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, said that he published their private correspondence because he felt "vilified" by an article in which their relationship was addressed. (Getty Images)
On Feb. 6, 2019, People published an article called "The Truth About Meghan Markle’s Dad — and the Letter She Wrote Him After the Wedding," in which a "longtime friend" addressed the letter, claiming she was "heartbroken" to hear about her father's health scare and wrote to him to tell him that she loves him and wanted to "repair" their relationship.
The article suggested Meghan "loved me and that she wanted to repair our relationship," Thomas said. He, however, felt the letter "was a criticism."
"It actually signaled the end of our relationship, not a reconciliation," explained the Duchess' father.
In the People magazine article, the friend alleges Thomas proposed a photo op with his daughter in his response to her letter, which Meghan felt contradicted what she'd said to him in her initial letter, when she told her father that she doesn't "want to communicate through the media."
Meghan Markle's wedding to Prince Harry was not attended by her father, Thomas, as tension grew between the pair. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Thomas, however, said that he was instead proposing a "harmonious" photo of himself with Meghan, feeling that it would "make the press back off."
Additionally, Thomas refuted the friend's claim that he "never" contacted his daughter after the ordeal. Thomas reportedly claimed in court that he "couldn't find a way of getting her to talk to me."
Allowing Daily Mail to "actually quote from and reproduce parts of the letter" was the only way to tell his side of the story.
"The text of the letter proves that what was said in People magazine about the letter was wrong," Thomas said. "It 'dissolves' what was said about me in that article. Readers had to see the letter for themselves — then they would know they were getting the truth."
He also said it was his choice to publish only parts of the letter.
"I did not want the whole of the letter to be published," he shared. "The reason for that was because I thought the letter as a whole made Meg look terrible. I do not want to attack or hurt her."
Meghan Markle now lives in California with her husband, Prince Harry, and their young son, Archie. (Getty Images)
Meghan's lawyers have reportedly denied that the Duchess of Sussex knew about People's article before its publication.
However, in docs publically available in Britain, Meghan's legal team insists the letter was an instance of the royal "begging [Thomas] to stop talking to the press."
"The act of writing a personal letter to a close family member, lover or friend inevitably puts the writer in an unguarded and potentially vulnerable position because the words chosen and the way in which the writer chooses to express him or herself are for the recipient and no one else," said the docs.
Reps for Thomas, Associated Newspapers and People did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.