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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 16:13 GMT
Zeta Jones wedding 'gatecrashed'
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones
The couple's 2000 wedding sparked the court case
Hello! magazine breached security to get photographs of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones' wedding, the High Court in London has heard.

The Hollywood actors are suing the magazine for £2m for stress, loss of income and damage to their professional careers because of the poor quality wedding photos.

The couple were absent from the first day of the trial as their lawyer outlined why they had brought the case against the magazine.

When Douglas, 58, and Zeta Jones, 33, got married in 2000, they signed a £1m contract with Hello's rival, OK! magazine, for exclusive pictures.

They did not wish to appear aloof and shun their public

Michael Tugendhat QC
Their barrister, Michael Tugendhat QC, told the court that despite turning down a £1m-plus deal with Hello!, the magazine arranged for four paparazzi photographers to gatecrash the wedding and take "surreptitious" pictures.

The OK! deal frustrated Hello! owner Eduardo Sanchez Junco so much that he hatched a plan three months before the wedding for photos to be "stolen", Mr Tugendhat told the court.

Security measures

Hello! was printing the edition - increased from the usual 650,000 copies to 750,000 - while the wedding was still being celebrated, Mr Tugendhat added.

But Hello! said it knew nothing of the photos until it was offered the pictures on the open market after the event.

"Anyone would be upset on discovering marriage celebrations - something everyone would wish to be conducted amongst friends in an atmosphere of trust - should be exploited in this way," Mr Tugendhat said.

Catherine Zeta Jones
Zeta Jones stars in hit movie Chicago
The couple married at a New York hotel in November 2000 having made all arrangements, including "extensive security measures" and the OK! deal, themselves, Mr Tugendhat told the court.

It had been suggested they choose a more remote venue that would be harder for paparazzi to get into, but they wanted to be free to choose the right venue and did not want to hide away from family and friends, the court heard.

Mr Tugendhat said the couple had arranged for the release of approved photographs as they accepted there was a legitimate interest in what they did.

"They did not wish to appear aloof and shun their public," he told the court.

But they also wanted to keep a tight control over what was seen as they did not want their fans to see them behaving in an unrestrained manner, the court heard.

Suspects

They initially suspected a member of hotel staff of taking the photos, Mr Tugendhat said.

"Or, to the great distress of the Douglases, one of their own friends or family members."

This case isn't about the content of the Hello! photographs - the content and quality are bad - they are embarrassing and they do ridicule

Michael Tugendhat QC
Douglas is currently in Sierra Leone for the United Nations and his wife is attending the Berlin première of her film Chicago.

Both are expected to appear at the High Court next week, and Mr Tugendhat said the case was not about money, but "injury to their feelings, intrusion and other matters of a personal nature".

Immediately after the wedding, the couple were granted a court injunction banning the publication of the unauthorised photos but this was lifted on appeal.

Mr Tugendhat said the couple would have been satisfied if the injunction had remained in place.

As soon as the injunction was lifted, The Sun newspaper published a photograph showing Zeta Jones eating, with the caption "Catherine Eater Jones", Mr Tugendhat said.

But he added: "This case isn't about the content of the Hello! photographs - the content and quality are bad - they are embarrassing and they do ridicule."

The case was adjourned until Tuesday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's George Eykyn
"The stage is set at the High Court where they are suing for damages"

A court case involving Hello! magazine and two of Hollywood's biggest stars could make legal history, writes media correspondent Nick HighamLegal history?
Nick Higham on the Zeta Jones court case
See also:

02 Feb 03 | Entertainment
16 Jan 03 | Entertainment
02 May 02 | Entertainment
21 Dec 00 | Entertainment
04 Dec 00 | Entertainment
05 Dec 00 | Entertainment
15 Oct 02 | Entertainment
28 Mar 02 | UK
03 Feb 03 | Entertainment
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