More than 15 celebrities who won gagging orders in Britain now face having their secrets exposed, experts warned as a US magazine published sordid revelations involving another household name.
The married actor accused of paying £195 (NZ$410) for a high profile escort was named in America five years after securing a draconian injunction banning English press from identifying him.
Revelations were printed this week in the same publication which exposed the extramarital "threesome" of another celebrity, who has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds battling to stop details being published.
The Supreme Court is set to decide this month if he can be named after the Court of Appeal overturned his gagging order and ruled it had been rendered pointless.
Lawyers said the world had woken up to the "farce" of the British injunction, which has helped dozens of well known names gag the press.
Among those likely to be keeping a close eye on the legal battle is a world-famous sportsman who gagged The Sun last August from revealing his alleged affair with a female celebrity.
A married Premier League manager accused of an affair and several well-known names from the acting world who have won privacy rulings surrounding their family life may also face fresh legal fights.
Mark Stephens, of the law firm Howard Kennedy, said: "British law is being made to look silly and puny. Part of that is down to the greedy lawyers saying they have the answer to all celebrities' problems which, clearly, they do not.
"The real threat is that this makes a farce of privacy laws and it is quite clear that any celebrities taking out injunctions should be nervous because these case now have a clear 'target' mark on their backs."
The latest famous name, whose reputation as a family man has boosted his career, spent tens of thousands of pounds on legal fees before High Court judges agreed with his argument that exposing his behaviour breached his privacy rights.
However, yesterday the US magazine reported the wealthy British star asked former sex worker Helen Wood, 29, to use a sex toy on him, adding that he was "disgusting" at kissing.
Here we go again ??— Helen Wood (@Helen_Wood86) May 3, 2016
Ms Wood, whose services were also reportedly used by footballer Wayne Rooney, had previously given her story to The Sun newspaper in 2011.
She told the newspaper: "It's all so stupid. I'd like to tell my full story."
The actor told his wife of the affair fearing his name would be made public but has ignored a deluge of rumours on social media and continued his career as if everything was normal.
He has attended glittering functions with other actors and given celebrity interviews about his life and work.
Sources told the Daily Telegraph that lawyers from News UK are not currently planning to launch a fresh appeal at the High Court.
Ryan Giggs, Fred Goodwin, Andrew Marr, Jeremy Clarkson and John Terry are among well-known names who have tried and failed to maintain reporting injunctions after affairs were exposed.
Ms Wood no longer works as a prostitute. She won Celebrity Big Brother in 2015.
Which secrets could be revealed?
High Court privacy injunctions have been awarded to dozens of famous names from the worlds of politics, entertainment and sport. Here are some of those who could be affected if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark "threesome" privacy case:
In August last year, The Sun reported a "top sportsman" had gagged The Sun to stop us revealing how he cheated on his wife-to-be with a female celebrity.
The ruling was passed down by Mrs Justice Elizabeth Laing after an application by lawyers representing both the sportsman and his wife.
The "figure of trust"
A high profile celebrity woman described as a "figure of trust" was granted an injunction in Manchester in May last year to prevent her lover from leaking details of her affair with a famous married man to the press.
The woman, named only as CHS, started legal action to obtain the gagging order under the Human Rights Act after her partner discovered she had been adulterous by reading her diary.
The football manager
A married Premier League boss is currently threatening to gag The Sun over an alleged secret lover. He has previously won a court order banning revelations about another affair.
Colin Montgomerie was granted an order by Mr Justice Eady in 2010 for a tabloid story involving his private life. The matter was resolved out of court and there is no suggestion of any truth in the allegations.
The Hollywood star's husband
Kate Winslet's husband, Ned RocknRoll, won an injunction banning The Sun from publishing "private" photographs taken in 2010. Barrister David Sherbourne told the High Court the photos were "innocent but naive", adding: "We're not trying to hide a guilty secret."
The High Court ruled in March 2011 that details of personal e-mails from Zac Goldsmith's ex-wife Sheherazade and his sister Jemima Khan should not be published after it emerged a woman hacked their e-mail accounts and passed details to a national newspaper journalist. The case was made subject to a "super injunction" in 2008, meaning nothing could be written about it at all.