LONDON — A tense and sometimes hostile Piers Morgan refused to disclose details Tuesday about the most damning link between himself and Britain’s phone hacking scandal – his acknowledgment that he once listened to a phone message left by Paul McCartney for his then-wife Heather Mills.

The CNN celebrity interviewer, testifying through a video link from the U.S., clashed repeatedly with the United Kingdom panel investigating media ethics, insisting he never took part in the illegal phone hacking that has led to the closure of a Sunday tabloid he once edited and the arrests of friends and former colleagues.

The stakes were high for Morgan. More than a dozen journalists have been arrested, senior executives with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. media empire have lost their jobs, and top U.K. police officers have resigned over their failure to tackle the phone hacking scandal.

His testimony was given under oath, and Morgan could be subject to criminal proceedings if he is found to have violated any British laws.

Morgan’s defense Tuesday was part denial, part apology and a healthy helping of “I don’t recall.”

A key line of questioning centered on the comments Morgan made in a 2006 article he wrote for the Daily Mail tabloid. In it, Morgan said he was played a phone message left by the former Beatle on Mills’ answering machine, describing it in detail and noting that McCartney “even sang ‘We Can Work It Out’ into the answer phone.”

Mills, who went on to divorce McCartney, has charged there was no way Morgan could have obtained the message honestly.

Morgan stubbornly refused Tuesday to go into any detail about the message, saying: “I’m not going to discuss where I heard it or who played it to me.”

Pressed about whether he could provide any evidence to substantiate that he had obtained the message legally, Morgan said he could not.

“I can’t start any trail that leads to the identification of a source,” he said.

At one point Morgan said he “doesn’t believe” he ever listened to hacked voicemail messages. He also rejected suggestions he had any contact with the private detectives accused of carrying out many of the tabloids’ dirtiest deeds, saying his subordinates would have been charged with giving them assignments.

Chaz Bono, partner end their engagement

LOS ANGELES — A publicist for Chaz Bono says the relationship between the author-activist and his longtime partner has ended.

Howard Bragman said in a written statement that Bono and Jennifer Elia “leave this relationship with great love, respect and affection towards one another.” He said the two are seeking privacy in the matter.

Bono, who recently appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” and Elia have been dating and engaged for years. The pair dated as Bono, who was born Chastity Bono to musicians Cher and Sonny Bono, changed his gender through surgery and the court system.

Bragman said no further details will be released about the couple.

Bono has written two books and has discussed his transition in a documentary project that aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

‘Friday’ video tops Google’s most-seen list

NEW YORK — Rebecca Black’s infamous “Friday” video has topped all other YouTube videos of 2011 with 180 million views.

The Google Inc. video-sharing site announced its most-viewed clips of the year Tuesday.

The 14-year-old Black was turned into a viral video celebrity after her parents paid a production company to make the music video for her. “Friday” became an unlikely, off-key global hit. Because of a legal dispute with Ark Music Factory, the video has had two YouTube incarnations, both of which were tabulated in the year-end count.

The second most popular video was “Ultimate Dog Tease,” in which an owner taunts a dog with food and voices its reactions. Third was the “Saturday Night Live” digital short featuring Michael Bolton as a rabid “Pirates of the Caribbean” fan.