The England and Manchester United centre-back was not at London's High Court to hear Mr Justice Nicol dismiss his claim against MGN Ltd.
Ferdinand, 32, brought his case for misuse of private information over an April 2010 Sunday Mirror article in which interior designer Carly Storey gave her account of their 13-year relationship in return for £16,000.
The judge said: "Overall, in my judgment, the balancing exercise favours the defendant's right of freedom of expression over the claimant's right of privacy."
Ferdinand had branded the piece - "My affair with England captain Rio" - a "gross invasion of my privacy", and said he had not seen Ms Storey for six years by the time it appeared.
At a hearing in July, his lawyers asked for a maximum of £50,000 damages and a worldwide gagging order.