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2000: Hollywood meets Wales in 'wedding of year'

The film world has celebrated the celebrity wedding of the year in New York, as Hollywood leading man Michael Douglas married Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones.

The lavish ceremony took place in New York's Plaza Hotel and cost an estimated 1.5 million.

Crowds of well-wishers and photographers lined the street outside and guests waved before walking into the Plaza ballroom where the ceremony was to be held.

Catherine Zeta Jones, 31, exchanged vows with Michael Douglas, 56, in a ceremony shrouded in secrecy due to a reputed 1m exclusive deal with OK! Magazine.

Security was so tight guests had to show their hologrammed invitations before being allowed in and private photographs were banned.

Welsh connection

The Welsh dragon fluttered alongside the American stars and stripes above the hotel entrance, and the wedding feast featured Welsh lamb.

Even the wedding ring came from a family jeweller in Aberystwyth.

The best man was Cameron Douglas, Michael Douglas's 21-year-old son from his first marriage.

Also taking a starring role was Dylan, the couple's three-month-old son, who spent most of the ceremony asleep.

Star-studded

A party of 30 family and friends were flown to the US from the Welsh valleys, including Miss Zeta Jones's mother, Pat, and her father, Dai, a retired sweet salesman.

Her grandmother, from whom she gets the name Zeta, was also flown to New York although the 85-year-old is still recovering from two recent operations.

The family rubbed shoulders with the groom's father, veteran actor Kirk Douglas, 83, as well as film stars Sir Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Sharon Stone, Sir Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve and Danny DeVito.

As he arrived, Mr Douglas senior gave his blessing to the marriage, remarking, "I'd marry her myself, but my wife won't let me."

Catherine Zeta Jones was born on a housing estate in the Welsh seaside town of Mumbles.

She first hit the headlines as a TV star in the ITV drama The Darling Buds of May, before heading to America to star in films such as The Mask of Zorro.

Her new husband, Michael Douglas, is one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, from one of its oldest acting dynasties. He has starred in hit films such as Romancing the Stone and Wall Street.

In Context
Despite the high security, photographers from Hello! Magazine gatecrashed the wedding and took surreptitious pictures.

Immediately after the wedding the couple were granted a court injunction banning the publication of the unauthorised photos but this was lifted on appeal.

Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas then sued the magazine.

After a three-year legal battle, they won a partial victory when a judge ruled Hello! had breached their commercial confidence, although he said it did not breach their privacy.

They were awarded damages of 14,600, and at a later hearing were also awarded more than 75% of the 4m they spent suing the magazine.

In the same court case, OK! Magazine won damages of more than 1m, but this was overturned on appeal, and the magazine ordered to pay back damages, costs and interests amounting to nearly 2m.

This ruling has in turn been challenged, and the two rival magazines remain locked in a legal battle through the courts.

In April 2003 Catherine Zeta Jones gave birth to her second child, a daughter, Carys.

Also in 2003, she won an Oscar for her performance in the musical movie Chicago.


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