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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 16:36 GMT
Hello! 'sorry' for Zeta Jones distress
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas
The couple just before their wedding in 2000
Hello! magazine's owner has apologised to Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas for causing offence and distress by publishing paparazzi photographs of their wedding.

But Eduardo Sanchez Junco, whose magazine is defending legal action brought by the couple and rival OK!, said he thought the stars' reactions were over-the-top.

I think that their attitude was a little bit exaggerated

Eduardo Sanchez Junco
Hello!
Zeta Jones told the court last week that she felt "devastated, violated and upset" by the coverage.

Zeta Jones and Douglas are suing Hello! for 500,000 after the magazine published the unauthorised photos despite an exclusive 1m deal with OK!. OK! is suing Hello! for 1.75m.

In London's High Court on Tuesday, Mr Sanchez was challenged over Hello!'s story which said Douglas did not dance with his bride and that he gave her a yacht as a present.

"I don't think there is anything particularly unpleasant about them or offensive," he said of the statements.

He did not pay any attention to the text, he said - only the layout of the pictures, which he oversaw.

When told by Michael Tugendhat QC, representing the Hollywood stars, that Zeta Jones was very distressed by the publication, Mr Sanchez said: "I am sorry about that."

Catherine Zeta Jones
Catherine Zeta Jones gave evidence on Monday
"Were you surprised to hear how distressed they were?" Mr Tugendhat asked.

"To a certain extent yes. I think that their attitude was a little bit exaggerated," Mr Sanchez replied.

He said he did not know how the couple had reacted until they gave evidence on Monday.

"I am sorry Miss Zeta Jones felt like that," he said.

Mr Tugendhat said: "Do you intend to convey an apology?"

"Obviously any way in which I have offended her, yes," Mr Sanchez said.

'No revenge'

The couple took out an injunction to stop Hello! publishing the pictures to protect their exclusive deal with OK! rather than because they were upset, Mr Sanchez told the court.

He also denied that he published the photos to get revenge on OK!, who beat Hello! in the bidding war for the official pictures.

Catherine Zeta Jones
Zeta Jones has been nominated for an Oscar for Chicago
He decided to use the paparazzi pictures to protect the economic interests of his magazine, he said.

On Friday, he told the court that Zeta Jones and Douglas were more concerned with making money out of their wedding photographs than protecting their privacy.

The celebrity couple appeared in court on Monday and 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," Douglas said.

Zeta Jones - who has been nominated for an Oscar for her role in Chicago - said the pictures were "cheap and tacky" and the quality was "what any bride would hate to have out there".

The case continues.


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

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28 Mar 02 | UK
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