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Last Updated:  Friday, 11 April, 2003, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Zeta Jones versus the paparazzi
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones leaving the High Court
The couple were chased by photographers outside court
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas came up against the tabloid media at their wedding, as they had done on many occasions in the past.

In his judgement on the case, Mr Justice Lindsay spoke of "undisputed evidence" of press intrusion into their lives.

Even before a photographer sneaked into their wedding in 2000, to Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas were well aware of what the paparazzi were capable of.

Zeta Jones told the Hello! court case she was once scared by a photographer who jumped out of a doorway at night time to get a shot of her.

Another time, she crashed her car into a lamp post trying to escape from a paparazzo.

When she became pregnant with the couple's first child, Dylan, an assistant at her lawyer's office told a member of the press the news before the actress had even had a chance to tell her mother.

Hospital trick

Then when Dylan was born in August 2000, some journalists posed as family members to sneak into the hospital.

Zeta Jones had to be covered by a sheet as she was wheeled out of the delivery room to avoid being photographed.

Soon after, Zeta Jones was driving her son in California when photographers for a British tabloid paper deliberately crashed into them.

Under Californian law, drivers have to get out of the car to exchange details.

It is easy to see, against such a background, how celebrities may become especially defensive
Mr Justice Lindsay
She told the High Court: "They immediately jumped out of their car and took photographs of me looking furious at the side of the road.

"They then published them in an article about me being consumed by road rage.

"This incident made me very angry."

The judge in the Hello! case, Mr Justice Lindsay, said: "It is easy to see, against such a background, how celebrities may become especially defensive."

So when they planned their wedding, they knew there would be strong press interest - and wanted to keep the paparazzi out.

They signed a £1m deal with OK! magazine for exclusive pictures, saying they thought this would make other publications lose interest.

Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas
They are one of the most photographed couples in the world
But the preparations and big day itself in November 2000 were still surrounded by strict security.

All suppliers and potential suppliers were made to sign confidentiality agreements and guests were due to be given the time and venue only at the last minute.

But one of the florists who unsuccessfully tendered for work revealed to the New York Post that the ceremony was to be held at the Plaza Hotel.

The day before the event, tickets were hand-delivered to guests staying in New York, and those not in the city received them by courier.

On the back of each ticket was an invisible ink code and design that only event planner Simone Martel Levinson knew.

As they entered the hotel, guests swapped this card for a gold wedding pin designed by the couple and which had been kept secret.

Those arriving were also told to leave cameras in the cloakroom.

Security sweeps

Three private security guards patrolled the corridors, and the security bill came to more than $66,000 (£46,400).

Other hotel guests were kept well away and the wedding rooms were regularly "swept" until an hour before the ceremony to check for hidden sound or video recorders.

The New York Police Department and Fire Department were consulted, and technicians monitored the hotel's fire alarm throughout the event to make sure those inside would not be forced to evacuate.

Zeta Jones thought the security had been successful.

"We had managed to have a private wedding for our family and friends without suffering the intrusion of the media into our special day," she said.

But she was soon to discover that despite the security a paparazzo had infiltrated the event and sold the pictures to Hello!

It was cheap and tacky and everything I didn't want
Catherine Zeta Jones
Rupert Thorpe, son of former UK Liberal Party leader Jeremy, had taken pictures of the bride, the groom, the wedding dress and the cake.

When the official pictures were examined, a man in a dinner jacket was seen holding and tilting a small camera cupped in his hands below waist level.

He was thought to have been accompanied by his fiancée, but the official photograph did not show whether they wore the gold pins.

It is not known whether any other photographers got in but were unable to take pictures.

Mr Thorpe's images appeared in Hello! - as well as The Sun newspaper, which ran headlines like Catherine Eater Jones alongside a picture of the bride eating wedding cake.

"It was cheap and tacky and everything I didn't want to have shown as being part of my special day," she told the court.

"They were poor quality, sleazy, unflattering and looked like they had been stolen as indeed they had."


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