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Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 19:56 GMT
Weddings are public - Zeta judge
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones
The case surrounds the couple's 2000 wedding
The judge in the privacy case brought by the Catherine Zeta Jones, has said weddings are public events.

The actress and her husband, Michael Douglas, are suing celebrity magazine Hello! for 2m for stress, loss of income and damage to their careers over photos taken at their wedding at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

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

Catherine Zeta Jones
Zeta Jones stars in hit movie Chicago

The Hollywood couple had signed an exclusive 1m deal with Hello!'s rival, OK!, which is also suing the magazine.

And wedding guests had been banned from taking their own photos.

But Mr Justice Lindsay said weddings were public occasions according to the Book of Common Prayer.

As part of the ceremony involved allowing any member of the public declare reasons why the marriage should not proceed.

"It would be absurd to make the wedding so secure as to exclude any possible objectors," said Justice Lindsay.

"It is an affirmation of a new relationship, a public sign of a private arrangement."

'Media event'

The judge's comments came after James Price QC told the court the couple had chosen to turn their wedding into a media event in 21 countries throughout the world when they signed the OK! deal.

Mr Price, representing Hello!, said: "Any right to privacy concerns such matters as the use of long lens photography of someone engaged in a private act on private premises, such as their own home.

"A wedding is an intimate occasion - but when they have 350 guests one cannot possibly characterise that as private."

The hearing was adjourned until Monday when Oscar-winner Douglas, 58, and his 33-year-old Welsh wife, who is seven months pregnant with their second child, will give their evidence from the witness box.


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:

04 Feb 03 | Entertainment
19 Feb 03 | Entertainment
15 Oct 02 | Entertainment
28 Mar 02 | UK
03 Feb 03 | Entertainment
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