Naomi Campbell could be out more than a million bucks after coming up empty in a legal catfight involving her drug woes.

A three-judge appeals panel in London ruled the superbabe must cough up beaucoup court fees to London's Daily Mirror tabloid, which in February 2001 had published a photo of the model walking out of a drug rehab center.

Campbell had sued the paper, claiming it invaded her privacy by publishing the pic and reporting (admittedly correctly) that she had visited the aforementioned clinic. In March, a judge in London's High Court agreed with the model and ordered the paper to pay Campbell $5,425 in damages and cover her court costs, said to be in the $300,000 range.

But the Mirror appealed and Britain's Court of Appeal ruled on Monday that the tab's story was "justifiable in the public interest" because Campbell was a big-time celeb who repeatedly trumpeted her drug-free lifestyle, telling news outlets that, unlike other cover girls and boys, she did not partake of stimulants or tranquilizers.

"Miss Campbell had been deceiving the public when she said that she did not take drugs," the ruling said. "She had, in fact, become addicted to drugs. Where a public figure chooses to make untrue pronouncements about his, or her, private life, the press will normally be entitled to put the record straight."

Campbell was MIA from the courthouse Monday, but she released a statement on her Website that said she had launched the case to "ensure that I and any other sufferers could receive therapy without intrusion from the media."

"I do not think it so terrible or extraordinary to want to keep private the fact that you have problems and are seeking treatment," the catwalker claimed.

"The idea that because you deny something about your private life, automatically entitles the media to publish otherwise private information, seems to me to be very harsh indeed."

Campbell, 32, also says she plans on appealing to the House of Lords.

Mirror editor Piers Morgan, who estimates the newspaper spent about $1.1 million defending itself, calls the ruling "a wake-up call."

In an interview with Sky Television, Morgan says he was pleased with the decision, but "I don't jump up and down with glee about this. [Campbell] is obviously fairly troubled. But I don't think her decision to go to court to gag the media helped her problems. I think it made it worse.

"This is a wake-up call today to all these celebrities queuing up to take on the media. We will defend ourselves vigorously."

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