Rebel Wilson defamation case: Obsessed ex-classmate was articles' source: star

An obsessed and jealous former high-school classmate is the unnamed source behind articles claiming Rebel Wilson lied about her name, age and background, the actress believes.

In what is already becoming one of the stranger trials in Victoria's history, Wilson, star of Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, is suing publisher Bauer Media for defamation over a series of articles that appeared in Woman's Day in May 2015.

She claims the articles gave the impression she was a serial liar who has falsified much of her back-story, including her name and age.

The articles quoted an unnamed source claiming that Wilson's whole life was fabricated.

"All the girls in my grade had been telling me that there was a girl who had become obsessed with my success," Wilson told the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday. "She'd contacted basically every single person in the Australian media [trying to sell her story]."

Wilson said she had been told the classmate worked herself into a fury whenever she saw Rebel's face on billboards advertising her successful movies.

Claims the woman made to Woman's Day were all wrong, and could be easily debunked with a quick internet search, Wilson said.

Worse, the source had told the magazine the comedian wasn't funny at high school. "[I] cracked jokes all the time ... everyone knew me for cracking jokes," Wilson said.

She claims she was deeply wounded and humiliated by the articles, and they did enormous damage to her career. She plans to sit through every minute of the three-week defamation trial, which is rapidly coming to resemble an all-singing, all-dancing variety hour rather than a court case.

The hearing has already been interspersed with quips from Wilson and clips from her movies, including a memorable a capella performance of Ace of Base's I Saw The Sign.

On Tuesday, she took to the stand, the first witness to give evidence. She claimed she really was a bogan, despite Woman's Day's claim she had a privileged upbringing.

"Although now I'd probably be a cashed-up bogan," she admitted. To which Justice John Dixon quipped from the bench "that's called a CUB".

She was born Melanie, but always known as Rebel, she said. Her siblings are named Annachi and Ryot. In 2002, she legally changed her first name to Rebel. Her birthdate was on her passport and birth certificate, both of which were tendered to the court.

Wilson then led the six-woman jury and packed courtroom through her life story, flipping through an evidence-binder of yellowing Kodachrome images. Here was young Rebel Wilson in a white dress. Rebel Wilson at a dog show. Several photos of Rebel Wilson engaged in something she termed "dog-stacking", apparently a dog-show standard.

Wilson let none of her life story pass without comment, from her interests in boys, to her terrible sense of humour and bad fashion sense. 

She was rejected from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts because her characteristic voice "was no good for Shakespeare".

"I'm not a professional rapper," she was moved to note at another point, after retelling a story involving hallucinating rap-performances.

A full episode of Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery starring Wilson was played. The jury watched Wilson watching herself on the wide-screen television mounted in court.

"I still think I'm growing into my looks – I was pretty feral as a child," TV-Rebel said and the court tittered. Real Rebel worked to suppress her own grin.

Wilson says the articles gutted her career, which was just starting to bloom. In the two years since the articles were published, she has had only two roles – one a cameo in the Absolutely Fabulous movie, which she did as a favour, and a stage role in London.

If she was still a successful actor, "I would not be here... I have no current job," she said.

The case continues.