BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Tuesday, 4 February, 2003, 16:21 GMT
Zeta wedding was 'media event'
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones
The case surrounds the couple's 2000 wedding
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas chose to turn their wedding into an international media event and cannot claim intrusion of privacy, the High Court in London has heard.

The couple are suing celebrity magazine Hello! for 2m for stress, loss of income and damage to their careers over photos taken at their wedding in November 2000.

They say the magazine breached their privacy by taking unauthorised pictures at the wedding, a claim Hello! denies.

The Hollywood couple had signed an exclusive deal with Hello!'s rival, OK!, which is also suing the magazine.

Catherine Zeta Jones
Zeta Jones stars in hit movie Chicago
Representing the Douglases, Michael Tugendhat QC quoted from earlier defences submitted by Hello! to the court, in which the defendants claimed the couple had chosen to exploit their wedding for commercial gain and for publicity.

The barrister mocked claims by Hello!'s lawyers that a wedding attended by 350 people could never be described as private.

"The notion is so bizarre that I have difficulty in addressing it," he said.

Mr Tugenhat told the court the couple had banned cameras from the wedding, which took place in the Plaza Hotel in New York, and asked guests to surrender them on arrival.

But Hello! says the couple did no more than express a preference that cameras should not be brought to the ceremony.

In addition, Hello! also says any security at the hotel was not to protect the Douglas' privacy, but to protect their deal with OK! instead.

Any attempt to bind guests or others at the wedding to a confidentiality arrangement was meaningless, the magazine says.

Representing Hello! and its proprieter Eduardo Sanchez Junco, James Price QC claimed the Douglases could never win their action because there was no right of privacy outside the European Convention on Human Rights.

Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas
The couple are expecting their second child
In a document released in court on Tuesday, Mr Price recalled comments made in the Court of Appeal when it overturned injunctions stopping publication of the pictures in Hello! in 2000.

Mr Price said Lord Justice Buxton had questioned whether preferring one's wedding pictures to appear in one publication instead of another should be deserving of protection by law.

It was understood that once unauthorised pictures were taken, there was no confidentiality obligation and the photos could be bought and sold freely.

"Whether one likes it or not, that is the basis on which paparazzi, the press and media - including OK! itself - and celebrities, have hitherto conducted themselves," Mr Price said.

He added it was "inconceivable" that the European Court of Human Rights would find the couple's privacy had been infringed where they had sold photographic rights to a rival magazine for worldwide syndication.

Zeta Jones, 33, and Douglas, will give evidence in their first appearance at court next Monday.

It was agreed on Tuesday that none of the defendants should give evidence before the Douglases because it was not known what allegations would be made from the witness box.

It is expected that the case will adjourn on Wednesday after further legal argument, ready to resume on Monday.

The case continues.

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:

03 Feb 03 | Entertainment
02 Feb 03 | Entertainment
16 Jan 03 | Entertainment
02 May 02 | Entertainment
05 Dec 00 | Entertainment
15 Oct 02 | Entertainment
28 Mar 02 | UK
03 Feb 03 | Entertainment
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.

 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |