- Former News of the World editors are on trial in voicemail-hacking scandal
- British media cite the prosecution as saying the pair were involved for six years
- In a letter read out to the court, Brooks tells Coulson she loves him, the reports say
- Brooks and Coulson deny the charges
The courtroom claim that Rebekah Brooks, a protege of global media baron Rupert Murdoch's, and Andy Coulson, a former spin doctor for British Prime Minister David Cameron, had a six-year affair has set British media abuzz.
The two are accused of charges including conspiring to hack voicemails and conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office. Brooks also faces a charge of perverting the course of justice. Both deny wrongdoing.
Their trial at the Old Bailey in London has gripped the British press -- and the prosecution's claim Thursday that the two had a clandestine affair made the front pages of half a dozen national newspapers Friday.
Several quoted at length from a letter allegedly written by Brooks as Coulson tried to end their relationship and read out by prosecution lawyer Andrew Edis to the court.
Reportedly found on a computer seized from Brooks' home, it said, "The fact is that you are my very best friend. I tell you everything, I confide in you, I seek your advice, I love you, care about you, worry about you. ... In fact without our relationship in my life, I am really not sure how I will cope."
The Mirror called it a "hacking bombshell," saying the court was "told of gushing love letter from ex-News of the World editor."
The Independent headlined its story "The affair they didn't expose," a reference to the tabloid newspapers' history of revealing other people's cheating.
It's not clear whether Coulson ever saw the letter, the media reports said.
The Guardian cited Edis as saying the jury needed to know about the secret relationship because the two are accused of conspiring together. It revealed how close they were and the level of trust they had, he said.
The affair ran from 1998 to 2004, the newspapers cited the prosecution as saying, during some of which time both Brooks and Coulson were married to other people.
Brooks and Coulson, both former editors of the now-defunct News of the World, were both formerly close to Cameron.
Coulson, who edited the News of the World from 2003 to 2007, went on to become Cameron's director of communications before resigning early in 2011.
Brooks, who also edited The Sun, was a friend of the prime minister and his wife.
Brooks, formerly chief executive of News of the World's parent company, News International, resigned from that role in the wake of public anger over claims of hacking by the newspaper's employees.
Three former journalists who worked at the News of the World have pleaded guilty to phone hacking, British media reported Wednesday, citing the prosecution in the case.
The three who pleaded guilty are Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup and Greg Miskiw.