Date: 13th February 2003

Hello! Made My Wedding Cheap And Tacky

A heavily-pregnant Catherine Zeta Jones has swept into a London courtroom to blast a British gossip magazine for publishing "cheap and tacky" photos of her wedding to Michael Douglas.

The Hollywood power couple wants 500,000 ($800,000) in damages from Hello! magazine for running unauthorised pictures of their lavish New York wedding in November 2000 - the exclusive rights to which they had already sold to rival OK! magazine.

Taking the witness stand in the High Court in London, Zeta-Jones - who is eight months pregnant - testified under oath that she wanted her wedding to Douglas to be "a special day that I had always dreamed of".

She said she was shattered when she learned that Hello! would be running pictures not taken by the two photographers hand-picked by the couple to record their wedding among close friends and family.

"I felt devastated," the 33-year-old, Welsh-born actress told a standing-room-only crowd of reporters and spectators in court.

"I felt violated and upset initially and that seemed to grow as the stress of the whole occasion unfolded, which was immediately after the wedding and consequently up until this day."

Responding to questions from her lawyer Michael Tugendhat, Zeta-Jones, who stars in the movie Chicago, said she was "absolutely not" reassured when she finally saw the Hello! photos.

"The quality was what any bride would hate to have out there," she said. "It was cheap and tacky and everything I didn't want to have shown as being part of my special day."

Zeta-Jones did not smile as she entered the court room shortly after arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London in a black limousine, past a thicket of television cameras.

Douglas, 58, walked at her side.

In written testimony to the court released today, Zeta-Jones said one of the reasons she moved to the United States in 1996 was because of her "bad experience" with Britain's competitive tabloids.

"Over the last few years, and particularly since my pregnancy, I have become increasingly concerned about photographs of Michael and me - and more recently of Dylan (their son) - at private moments finding their way into the media," she wrote.

The couple needs to convince the High Court that their privacy and confidence were breached at the wedding, for which OK! paid 1 million ($1.6 million) for its exclusive media rights.

Douglas and Zeta-Jones, whose case opened last week, had turned down a larger offer from Hello! before signing with OK!, which is separately suing Hello! for 1.75 million ($2.8 million) for loss of sales.

Agence France-Presse

Source: Press Release