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Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 09:32 GMT
Zeta Jones 'wanted profit not privacy'
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas outside the Royal Court of Justice in London
The couple said they were "devastated" by the pictures
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas were more concerned with making money out of their wedding photographs than protecting their privacy, the owner of Hello! magazine has told a court.

Eduardo Sanchez Junco, whose magazine is fighting the couple and rival OK!, said the stars had tried to get the highest possible price for exclusive rights to their wedding pictures.

For those who wish to protect their privacy, a feature in a magazine does not achieve that

Eduardo Sanchez Junco
Hello!
Zeta Jones and Douglas are suing Hello! for publishing unauthorised paparazzi photos after they had signed a 1m deal with OK!.

They said they signed the deal so they could control where and when the pictures appeared.

OK! is suing Hello! for 1.75m, while Zeta Jones and Douglas are suing for 500,000.

Bidding war

Mr Sanchez said Hello! had been used by the couple's publicist to encourage a bidding war.

Catherine Zeta Jones
Catherine Zeta Jones gave evidence on Monday
"The wedding was offered to various media, including ourselves, not in order to maintain privacy but solely in order to establish competition which would raise the price for exclusivity," he told the court.

"Exclusivity is not the way to maintain privacy, nor is exclusivity granted for that purpose."

Mr Sanchez said reasons why celebrity couples signed exclusive deals with magazines included covering wedding costs, making money, controlling publicity and protecting images.

"However, for those who wish to protect their privacy, a feature in a magazine does not achieve that - bearing in mind in particular that photographs may be syndicated worldwide to other publications," he said.

The weddings of Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Richard Gere and British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver had generated much less press coverage because the stars had not signed magazine deals, he said.

We did what everybody else does - publish what we considered would be of interest to our readers

Eduardo Sanchez Junco
Hello!
He also told the court that the OK! deal was "more generous than, or at least equal to" the amount Hello! had offered.

OK paid 1m plus 25% of syndication money, compared with his 1.5m plus 50%, the court heard.

Mr Sanchez said his magazine's coverage had never been "spiteful" towards the couple, as they had claimed.

Hello! treated the couple with "deference and sympathy", as they did with all celebrities, he told the court.

'Best possible light'

"In our 60-year history we have never tried to damage anyone. Therefore, we would not want to do it to people whom we have always treated fairly and objectively in our reports, portraying them in the best possible light."

And Hello!'s paparazzi pictures were "in no way offensive", he said.

Catherine Zeta Jones
Zeta Jones has been nominated for an Oscar for Chicago
"In my opinion the paparazzi did what they always do, spoil an exclusive, and we did what everybody else does - publish what we considered would be of interest to our readers."

It was "surprising" that OK! claimed Hello! had intended to cause it damage when OK! regularly tried to spoil exclusives in Hello! and other magazines.

Hello! has been accused of recruiting paparazzi to "gatecrash" the wedding, and Douglas has described how the coverage turned the wedding into a "complete nightmare".

"It was truly gut-wrenching and very disturbing experience which left us both upset," he told the court on Monday.

Zeta Jones - who has been nominated for an Oscar for her role in Chicago - has said the "cheap and tacky" pictures left her "devastated, violated and upset".

The hearing was adjourned until Monday.


Talking PointTALKING POINT
Hello! damages
Do you think stars' lives are public property?
See also:

12 Feb 03 | Entertainment
19 Feb 03 | Entertainment
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10 Feb 03 | Entertainment
28 Mar 02 | UK
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