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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 12:16 GMT
Zeta Jones wins 3m Hello! costs
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas before their wedding in New York in 2000
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas wed in New York in 2000
A court has awarded Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas more than 75% of the 4m they spent suing Hello! over wedding photos.

They took legal action after photos appeared in the celebrity magazine.

A spokeman for the stars and OK! magazine, which paid 1m for official photos, said Hello! faced a 5m bill.

But Hello! said the 14,000 damages originally awarded to the couple and OK!'s 1m award had been virtually wiped out by the costs' decision.

The Hollywood couple sued Hello! magazine after unauthorised pictures appeared after they had signed a 1m agreement with magazine rival OK! to print exclusive photographs.

In April 2003, a judge ordered Hello! to pay 1,033,156 to OK and further 14,500 to Douglas and Zeta Jones for breach of commercial confidence.

The question remained over how the costs of the lengthy legal fight would be split.

Hello! solicitor Christopher Hutchings said: "Hello! obviously faces a massive bill but when these figures are finally settled, the Douglases and OK! will also be hugely out of pocket," he said.

Scoops

Mr Justice Lindsay ruled that Hello! should pay 75% of the high-profile court hearing into who was to blame and 85% of the costs of the hearing to decide the amount of damages.

But this is not the end of the long-running saga as Hello! is preparing an appeal against liability and damages which is expected to be heard later in the year.

"The competitive practice of muscling in on other people's scoops is long-established in the media," said Mr Hutchings.

"Hello! has always said that this litigation shouldn't have gone ahead and this judgment means that the other side's decision to go to court was probably not OK."

Douglas and Zeta Jones are also appealing the decision not to award damages for the breach of privacy argument which they lost in court.

On Hello!'s spoiler photograph, a spokesman for the publishers of OK said: "Such conduct is and has always been illegal and it is astonishing that Hello! are unable to grasp the gravity of their misconduct in spite of being severely criticised by a succession of judges."


SEE ALSO:
Zeta wins 14,600 Hello! damages
07 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
Zeta damages judgement reserved
01 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Why privacy is still an issue
11 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Zeta Jones wins Hello! damages
11 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
What the Hello! judge said
11 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Timeline: Hollywood couple v Hello!
11 Apr 03  |  Entertainment


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