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Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 16:09 GMT
'Paranoid' security of Zeta Jones wedding
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas
Zeta Jones and Douglas say their privacy was invaded
The wedding of film stars Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas was planned with extraordinary attention to security, the High Court has heard.

Wedding planner Simone Martel said the couple had been terrified the media would get in and the event was organised on the basis that "paranoia is the mother of survival".

Members of a Welsh male voice choir were frisked, the 350 guests ordered to sign confidentiality agreements and invitations marked in secret ink.

Earlier the court heard that Hello! magazine - which is being sued by the couple for 500,000 - was merely retaliating to a story run by its rival OK! when it published unauthoried photos of the wedding.

Unwanted visitors

Speaking via a video link from New York Ms Martel said the ceremony, held in 2000, had been characterised from the start by its complex and costly security operation.

Catherine Zeta Jones
Catherine Zeta Jones gave evidence on Monday
It involved three security firms, the New York Police Department and the city's fire brigade, she explained.

She said information was compiled on everyone involved in the wedding and guests told "politely" not to bring cameras with them.

Invitations were hand-delivered at the last moment, to prevent counterfeits.

'Surreptitious sound'

"Full sweeps of the main reception room and other key rooms for any surreptitious sound and video equipment were carried out on a regular basis up to and including the final hour before the ceremony itself," Ms Martel added.

Guests then had to present their entry cards, which were checked for the secret ink and individual codes and exchanged for a gold wedding pin.

Ms Martel said the extensive arrangements failed and a member of the choir was spotted with a camera.

She said: "Despite the enormous level of security, and despite our very best efforts, we now know that our security arrangements were violated and that illicit photographs were taken during the wedding."

She said Ms Zeta Jones and Mr Douglas had been determined to keep unwanted visitors away from their 1.2m ceremony.

The couple wanted their wedding to be "personal, romantic, intimate and unforgettable", Ms Martel explained.

Disposable cameras

Earlier on Tuesday Martin Townsend, the former editor of OK!, described how he had published photos of Gloria Hunniford and Stephen Way's wedding - even though Hello! had exclusive rights.

Questioning Mr Townsend about the 1998 story James Price QC, who is defending Hello!, asked: "Did you think you did anything unlawful?

Mr Townsend replied: "If you hand out disposable cameras at a wedding and invite the guests to use them to take pictures of each other, it is only to be expected that they will find their way into the press."

But he said that if he had known Ms Hunniford had asked for the cameras to be returned at the end of the ceremony he would not have published.

Under the 1m OK! deal the couple had control over which photographs were published.

OK! is also suing its rival for 1.75m.

The hearing continues tomorrow, when James Price QC opens the case for Hello!.


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