September 22, 2005

Supermodel Moss says sorry after cocaine scandal

LONDON -- British supermodel Kate Moss broke her silence on Thursday a week after a newspaper alleged she had snorted cocaine, apologising to friends, family and business associates for her behavior.

But her statement made no specific reference to a report in The Mirror tabloid featuring grainy pictures that apparently showed the 31-year-old taking large quantities of cocaine. Moss has previously denied taking hard drugs.

"I take full responsibility for my actions," she said in a statement released by the Storm Model Management agency.

"I also accept that there are various personal issues that I need to address and have started taking the difficult, yet necessary, steps to resolve them."

The scandal has already prompted British retailer Burberry and Swedish-based fashion house Hennes and Mauritz to sever ties with one of the most famous faces in fashion, raising doubts over whether she can continue a successful modeling career.

France's Chanel said it would not renew her contract when it expires next month, and on Thursday a spokeswoman for the Rimmel cosmetic brand said the company was "shocked" by the reports and that its deal with Moss was now "under review."

Moss added: "I want to apologize to all of the people I have let down because of my behavior which has reflected badly on my family, friends, co-workers, business associates and others."

Her lawyer, Gerrard Tyrrell, said his client had nothing to add to the brief statement at this stage.


Moss has courted controversy before.

In 1998, she checked into London's Priory Clinic suffering from "exhaustion" and announced the following year that she had spent the previous decade modeling "drunk."

Her on-again, off-again relationship with volatile British rocker Pete Doherty, a confessed drug addict, has also attracted tabloid attention in recent months.

And in July she won substantial libel damages over claims by The Sunday Mirror that she collapsed in a cocaine-fuelled coma in Barcelona in 2001. The newspaper also apologised.

British police said on Wednesday they would investigate the latest allegations of drug abuse, although any probe would require more evidence than newspaper photos before it could proceed.

Opinion is divided over whether the scandal will end a career worth an estimated 4 million pounds a year.

Public relations expert Max Clifford said her career was "rapidly disintegrating," while Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor at The Times, said a comeback could be on the cards.

"British survivors of rock 'n' roll living have an uncanny knack of becoming national treasures," she wrote.

Moss, who has a two-year-old daughter, was discovered by a modeling agency as a 14-year-old schoolgirl, and her waifish good looks have graced the covers of countless magazines.