Actor George Clooney has defended his friend Meghan, Duchess of Sussex against constant attacks from her family in the media, after her father Thomas Markle exposed the heartbreaking letter showing the tragic extent of their rift.
George and Meghan have been pals for years - he and wife Amal were guests and Meghan and Prince Harry's wedding last May - and he well and truly understands how difficult it can be to manage all that public attention.
Now he's come out in support of the Duchess, even comparing her treatment to that of her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.
"I do want to say, they're just chasing Meghan Markle everywhere, she's been pursued and vilified," George told Who magazine.
He said we don't want to see a case of "history repeating itself," referring to Diana's tragic death following a car chase involving the paparazzi, in Paris in 1997.
"She's a woman who is seven months pregnant and she has been pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was and it's history repeating itself.
"We've seen how that ends. I can't tell you how frustrating that is, just seeing them broadcast a letter from a daughter to a father, she's getting a raw deal there and I think it's irresponsible and I'm surprised by that."
George is referring to the heartbreaking letter Meghan sent her father Thomas Markle, begging him to "stop victimising" her through the media.
According to five of Meghan's friends who gave anonymous quotes to People magazine, Meghan has tried to contact her father numerous times but he refuses to speak to her directly. Instead, he communicates with her only through media interviews.
"She's like, 'Dad, I'm so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship.' Because every time her team has to come to her and fact-check something [he has said], it's an arrow to the heart."
Thomas eventually did reply with a long letter to Meghan, but ended the note asking his daughter to pose with him for a media photoshoot.
Meghan's friend told People: "She feels like, 'That's the opposite of what I'm saying. I'm telling you I don't want to communicate through the media, and you're asking me to communicate through the media. Did you hear anything I said?' It's almost like they're ships passing."
But Thomas hit back this week, publishing Meghan's letter in full to a UK tabloid and told his side of the story.
Thomas claims the heartbreaking letter made no attempt to mend things between the pair.
"I thought it would be an olive branch. Instead, it was a dagger to the heart," he told the Mail On Sunday.
In fact, Thomas kept the letter concealed in a briefcase because it was "just too painful" to share.
"I was expecting something that would be a pathway to reconciliation. Instead, it was deeply hurtful."
"I was so devastated I couldn't show it to anyone and never would have had it not been for the events of last week."
And while her friends appeared to come forward to People with their pleas for Meghan in their own right, Thomas believes the interviews were orchestrated by his daughter.
"Assuming – and as these sources are anonymous we don't know for sure – that this was done with her agreement, it has opened a Pandora's box. The issue with her father is an open wound and I'm not entirely sure it is the best idea to aggravate that," he said.
He said it was unfair of Meghan's friends to "spin a line", particularly given they claimed Thomas responded to her letter asking her to pose with him in press photos.
Watch: Thomas Markle speaks out about daughter Meghan, claiming she 'ghosted' him. Story continues after video.
Meghan and Prince Harry are currently preparing for the birth of their baby in just a few months time, as well as moving into their new home at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor](They have reportedly created a gender-neutral, eco-conscious, vegan-friendly nursery for the new baby.
Meghan has also reportedly hired a pregnancy doula to help her manage her birth and pregnancy, and is believed to be undergoing acupuncture to help her manage the stress.
Harry recently revealed at the Endeavour awards that Meghan is carrying a "heavy" baby, while Meghan says she is so excited to be a mother, and believes Harry will make "the best dad".
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