Daughter of Johnny Hallyday, Laura Smet, in suicide attempt

Daughter of Johnny Hallyday, Laura Smet, in suicide attempt

Johnny Hallyday, the rocker nicknamed the French Elvis whose narrow escape from death was a national drama last month, faced further trauma as his daughter reportedly tried to commit suicide yesterday, The Times reported.

Laura Smet, 26, an actress, was taken to hospital after consuming medicines and alcohol and losing consciousness in a church in central Paris amid claims that she was torn between her father and her lover.

Although her agent claimed she had suffered nothing more than a malaise, a medical source said she had tried to take her own life and had been admitted to Val-de-Grâce hospital in the French capital in a serious condition.

The incident comes a month after her father - whose real name is Jean-Philippe Smet - was placed in an artificial coma in Los Angeles with what is thought to have been an infection picked up during an operation for a slipped disc in Paris.

His battle against a potentially fatal illness gripped his countrymen and dominated the news headlines for much of December.

Although the 66-year-old Gallic idol was released from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve and appeared in public for the first time a week later, he looked frail and will have to rest for at least three months.

The row over his treatment remains fierce, notably after the cancellation of what was billed as his farewell tour.

Miss Smet is at the centre of the controversy because Julien Delajoux, her partner, is the brother of the surgeon alleged to have bungled the slipped disc operation.

At the height of the storm, Dr Stéphane Delajoux was beaten up by hooded men in Paris after Jean-Claude Camus, Hallyday's producer, accused him of butchery.

In a letter to a newspaper on Sunday, Miss Smet, whose mother, Nathalie Baye, is one of France's best known actresses, denied that she was torn.

"The only thing which is important to me is the health of my father," she wrote. "I am his daughter. I love him."

Famous within months of her birth after Hallyday dedicated a hit song to her, entitled Laura, Miss Smet has earned prominent roles in successful French films, such as Les Corps Impatients (The Impatient Bodies).

But she has suffered from depression and alcoholism in the past. "Success came too early, too fast, too hard," she once said.

A police source said last night she had a history of suicide attempts.

Her hospitalisation comes a week after a French court ordered two eminent doctors to determine the reasons for Hallyday's illness as insurers fought over the estimated Euros 30 million bill for the cancellation of his concert tour.

If Dr Delajoux is deemed to be at fault, his insurance firms could have to pay. If not Mr Camus's insurers will be asked to foot the bill.

But if Hallyday's alcohol consumption is judged to be the cause of his coma, he and his producer might have to pay the costs themselves.

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