The dad of Girls Aloud's Kimberley Walsh has insisted his super-star daughter was not smoking cannabis in pictures published by a national newspaper.

John Walsh dismissed the story as "absolute rubbish" and said Kimberley had told him she was pressured by the tabloid into apologising for something she had not done.

The story in The Sun purported to show the 24-year-old squeaky-clean pop princess smoking a spliff' at a party.

It reports Kimberley as saying: "I realise what I did was wrong, especially as I'm in a position where fans look up to you. I got caught up in a moment and I'm sorry."

But dad John has told the T&A Kimberley does not even smoke cigarettes and would never touch drugs.

Mr Walsh, of Allerton, said she had been passing the cigarette to a friend at a private New Year's Eve party when the photograph was shot on a former friend's mobile.

Mr Walsh said: "This has been twisted. This was not a joint it was a rolled-up cigarette. It was not even lit and there is no smoke coming out. She was passing it across the room and put it in her mouth as a bit of a laugh.

"It's important that she should not be portrayed that way it's not the truth."

Mr Walsh said he spoke to Kimberley after the newspaper report was published and Kimberley told him she was not smoking cannabis and had been pressured into making the apology.

He said: "The paper said it would be running the story and that it would be best if she just apologised otherwise they would make it sound worse.

"She told The Sun she was mortified because her fans may think she was smoking drugs.

"She was protecting her fans and herself. She apologised if anyone was worried that she was taking drugs. But she does not take drugs and does not smoke."

However, The Sun's Showbiz Editor Victoria Newton defended her story and said: "Kimberley confirmed that it was a spliff and that is why she apologised."

She denied claims by Mr Walsh that Kimberley had been pressured into making an apology.

Mr Walsh said Kimberley took her responsibility to her fans seriously: "She is committed 100 per cent to setting a good example to her fans.

"She went into the band to be a band member - everyone has a responsibility to young people. She would not advise any children to take drugs or smoke. She is so anti-drugs and anti-smoking."

Dance teacher Deana Morgan of DM Academy in Shipley, who taught Kimberley from the age of seven, echoed his sentiments.

"She is a very straightforward, honest person who is full of integrity. She is a fantastic role model to our pupils.

"I'm really shocked as Kimberley has always been very anti-smoking. As a teenager she was passionate about her singing and dancing and that did not go hand in glove with smoking. She has never been one to do anything to excess and is very level-headed."

Kimberley has lived up to her clean-cut image since she shot to fame on ITV's Popstars.

She has achieved a string of successes with her band and recently filmed a fly-on-the-wall Channel 4 documentary called Off the Record, showing the private and professional lives of the group.

Kimberley has helped raise money for charity and engaged with youngsters in the community over the years, visiting schools and taking part in local events.

The band has just completed a UK arena tour, playing to massive crowds and positive reviews.

Her management company Polydor said they did not want to comment.



Avril Johnson, 71, of Tyersal: "What she does in her private life is up to her. The way the media follow pop stars is too much. There are more serious things happening."

Ian Atkins, 22, of Laisteridge Lane, Shearbridge: Ian Atkins, 22, of Laisteridge Lane, Shearbridge: "I do not care what pop stars do in their private lives. The media gives them a rough time."

Diane Cullen, 59, of Holme Wood: "If they are in the limelight stars must watch what they do because it sets a bad example to youngsters."

Mwenza Blell, 27, researcher in Bradford: "Some people that expect them to be role models are being unreasonable because people have different values and individual boundaries."

Bradford student Gareth Atkinson, 24: "They are like the Queen and royalty - they have to act with a certain decorum. It's unfortunate that it gets plastered in the media but that comes with the territory."

Nikos Bapaioannou, 25, student: "They are people like us - they are not anything special. They should be allowed to do what they want."