Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's battle against the British tabloids continues to rage. On Thursday, Los Angeles-based private investigator Daniel "Danno" Portley-Hanks revealed to The New York Times that The Sun paid him for Markle's private information after the couple started dating. According to an invoice that the Times obtained, Portley-Hanks sold cellphone numbers, Social Security numbers, and home addresses to The Sun's U.S. editor James Beal for $2,055. This information was part of the fuel that fed interest in Markle's half-sister Samantha Markle and estranged father Thomas Markle.
According to the NYT, Portley-Hanks obtained the information legally through the database TLOxp as a licensed PI, "but it is a violation of U.S. privacy statutes for people to pass these reports on to news organizations. (U.S. news outlets can research some information on TLOxp and similar services, but only have access to a limited set of data.)" Portley-Hanks apologized to the Sussexes through Byline Investigates, who obtained the file of what was sold to The Sun. "I'm sorry to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for targeting her family, particularly her dad, on behalf of The Sun," Portley-Hanks said. "I never wanted to cause Meghan Markle harm, and wouldn't have done the job if I'd have known it would lead to all these problems. I also wanted to take this opportunity to apologize to The Queen, because I realize the harm of what I did for The Sun has affected the whole family."
A spokesperson for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a statement to E! News, urging the need for change in the media industry. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex feel that today is an important moment of reflection for the media industry and society at large, as this investigative report shows that the predatory practices of days past are still ongoing, reaping irreversible damage for families and relationships," the statement read. "They are grateful to those working in media who stand for upholding the values of journalism, which are needed now more than ever before."
In the interview with Oprah Winfrey, Markle admitted that the constant abuse from the British tabloids and the stress of royal life took a major toll on her mental health, leading her to seriously consider suicide. "I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. But I knew that if I didn't say it — then I would do it," she explained. "I just didn't want to be alive anymore. That was a clear and real and frightening and constant thought."
If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.