Guardian Unlimited
Go to:
Home Advertising Television Radio Marketing & PR Press & publishing New media City
Monkey This week Services Talk Special reports Trade round-up TV ratings Jobs

Press & publishing news

  Search this site

Advanced search

Press & publishing

Catherine Zeta Jones' statement (3)

Text of the witness statement of Catherine Zeta Jones submitted to the high court

Previous page | Next page

Tuesday February 11, 2003

The New York Plaza

Once we had set our minds on New York, The Plaza was the natural choice. It was big enough to cope with a wedding of this size and scale and had a proven track record for hosting large events, which required security measures. I wanted to hold the wedding somewhere where members of my family would be able to stay and which would be a wonderful introduction to New York. I also wanted to have the wedding somewhere that I could sleep the night before the wedding so that my arrival at the wedding would not be turned into a media circus.

The Guest List

Preparing the guest list was the next major task. Michael started with his Christmas card list and then narrowed it down to his Christmas gift list. I simply prepared a list of everybody that I would want to come to my wedding and then narrowed it down. For both of us the most important guests were our family. In addition to my family, there were a number of other people whom it was very important that I invite to the wedding. For example, I very much wanted the Headmaster of my old school, Dumbarton House, to attend. I also invited a number of childhood friends such as Helen Jones, Julie Walker, and Peter Howard who ran the local amateur dramatics society with me in Swansea, and also Hazel Johnson, my first dance teacher, who I have known since I was four. Friends from my days on the London stage were also invited, including girls with whom I had acted in 42nd Street in London, as well as various other acting colleagues and business associates. It was also important to me that my parents could invite to the wedding some of their own friends whose children's weddings they had previously attended. Nearly everybody at the wedding was personally known to me except for certain members of Michael's family and one or two spouses whom I did not know. For example, I asked my driver, Lenny, to bring his wife even though I had never met her, simply because I had heard so much about her from him. I know that Hello! has said that the wedding guests included celebrities, politicians and other prominent people. That is true. However, the reason that these people were invited to our wedding was that they were either friends (for obvious reasons, many of our friends in the movie business are celebrities) or family or close associates (such as Kofi Annan and his wife with whom we have become close as a result of Michael's position as a United Nations Messenger of Peace). We certainly did not intend our wedding to be a celebrity event.

I asked Simone Martel to act as the event planner for the wedding. She had been involved in arranging a joint birthday party for Michael and me the previous September. Michael and I were born on the same day, 25 September. I liaised regularly with Simone and Allen Burry and with my assistant, Julianne Berkovitz, about the plans for the wedding. Like nearly every other bride I was very nervous about the wedding plans and was determined to be involved at every stage of that planning. In addition to my general involvement there were some areas that were particularly important for me including the dress, the photography arrangements and the dicor.

The Dress

I originally asked for sketches for the dress from a number of designers including Donatella Versace, Karl Lagerfeld and Richard Tyler of Dolce & Gabbana as well as from Christian Lacroix whose design I ultimately chose. I was looking for the design that best met my vision of what I wanted my dress to look like. Everyone who worked on the dress kept the design confidential. Because of my pregnancy and the birth of Dylan my body was constantly changing over the period leading up to the wedding. The final fitting was made only three days before the wedding. For the final 24 hours before the wedding one of my friends sat with the dress and my wedding jewels in a locked hotel room in order to protect them both from the press and generally. Michael did not see the dress until the day of the wedding.

The Official Photographers

Choosing the photographers was also something that was particularly important to me. I wanted the photographs to reflect the atmosphere of the wedding and I wanted to be certain that the chosen photographers would achieve that goal. Because of the world that I move in I come into contact with a lot of photographers and have strong feelings about their styles. Before selecting our photographers I looked at the photography books of about six or seven photographers. In addition, a number of other photographer friends had asked me if they could take the photographs at the wedding. In the end the photographer whom I chose to take the formal photographs was Michael O'Neill who had taken the photos for Zorro and whom I trusted. The reportage photographer whom I selected was Terry de Roy Gruber, a very famous wedding photographer. Before selecting Terry de Roy Gruber we met to discuss what I wanted his photographs to capture. It was clear from his portfolio of photographs and from our meeting that I would enjoy working with him and that he would inject into the photographs the fun and life that I wanted them to convey.

Looking at the photographs that we have and as they appear in OK! I am delighted with the photographers we chose. The photographs of the party give a real feeling of the atmosphere of the wedding which was intimate, warm, fun and relaxed. The formal photographs of Michael and me with our families are exactly as I had wanted them to be. The photographs as ultimately published in OK! are only a fraction of the photographs we have and which we will use to make up our private wedding book. The same photographs that were provided to OK! will eventually be given to members of my family and friends who attended the wedding. However, I was so upset by what Hello! did that, save for one exception, I have not felt able to send any wedding photographs out, even to my mother, until our action against Hello! has been resolved. The exception was a photograph of my grandmother, Nanna Fair, with Kirk Douglas. She was absolutely thrilled to meet him and I wanted to let her have that memento when she was ill in hospital.

. It was very important to us that our guests could feel totally relaxed at the wedding. The photographers were briefed not to take photographs of certain people who were at the wedding and whom I thought would not welcome being photographed. These included, for instance, Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe who were dating at that time but whose relationship was not public knowledge.

We decided not to have a video of the wedding for several reasons. In the first place video recordings have a tendency to find their way on to the Internet. Also videos tend to be more intrusive than cameras and tend to stop people from relaxing. It was very important to us that the photographers should not be intrusive and that our guests should feel at ease.

The Dinner on Friday, 17 November 2000

As our extended families had not met each other prior to the wedding, we specifically arranged a dinner the night before the wedding at the Russian Tea Room in New York. The main aim of this dinner was for our families and other old friends to get to know each other a little before the wedding. It also meant that the photographers (and also Martin Townsend, then the Editor of OK!) could get to identify who were members of my family and could also get a feel of the fun family atmosphere which we hoped the wedding would have. For that reason Terry de Roy Gruber came to the Russian Tea Room to take photographs and I went around the room with him pointing out all of the people who were particularly important to me but who would not have been known to him as they were not celebrities. I pointed out to him and to his assistants those family members whom I particularly wanted photographs of at the wedding. As we had specifically requested that nobody bring cameras to the wedding I asked the photographers to take photographs of my family and friends that I could then give to them so that they would have memories of the occasion.

Security Measures to Protect Privacy

One of our major concerns from the outset was to ensure that media intrusion would not wreck our wedding. We wanted to enjoy our wedding without having to worry about the press. We knew that this would mean that very strict security would be required to protect us from media intrusion, but given our experience of the lengths to which the media would go to get pictures of us there was no other option for us. The defendants claim in their defence that the security measures were put in place to protect the commercial value of our agreement with OK! which I refer to later in this statement. That is untrue. The purpose of the security measures (which were arranged by us, without the help of OK!) was to prevent access by the media so that we could fully enjoy our wedding day. It was very important to both of us that we could be ourselves and enjoy ourselves with our families and friends in an intimate and private setting without worrying who was watching. The security measures were under discussion long before we decided to enter into an agreement with OK!.

The first invitation we sent to our guests said simply that the guest was invited to the wedding of Michael and Catherine in New York. For security reasons the invitation did not say where the wedding was due to be held or give any other details. However, certain other information was enclosed with the invitation including a request that no gifts be given to us and that if guests insisted on giving presents they should be in the form of a donation to the charitable fund to be run by Dylan when he comes of age. Another information sheet informed guests who were able to attend that further details would follow closer to the date.

 Douglas and Zeta Jones v Hello!
11.02.2003: Press turns on Zeta Jones
10.02.2003: Douglas: we don't have to 'play ball' with media
11.02.2003: Catherine Zeta Jones' statement
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones accused of over-reacting
10.02.2003: Douglas: we guard our privacy closely
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones: 1m is 'not that much'
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones: I didn't sell my privacy
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones: paparazzi are 'game-hunters'
10.02.2003: Douglas hits out at 'peeping toms'
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones: 'devastated' by paparazzi
10.02.2003: Hollywood comes to town
10.02.2003: Matt Wells: Privacy goes to Hollywood
05.02.2003: Press spoilers 'are commonplace', court told
05.02.2003: Weddings are 'public occasions' says Zeta Jones judge
04.02.2003: Douglases 'forfeited right to privacy'
04.02.2003: Stars and celebrity mags act out their own court drama
04.02.2003: Zeta Jones hires ex-Sunday Times journalist for PR brief
03.02.2003: Douglases gave 'qualified consent' to photos
03.02.2003: Thorpe's son named in Zeta Jones case
03.02.2003: Hello! in 'covert' operation to get wedding pics
03.02.2003: Hollywood stars prepare for battle

 Preliminary hearings
28.01.2003: Zeta Jones worried about 'unflattering' photos
27.01.2003: Bid to delay Hollywood stars' court case
16.01.2003: Hello! case will be media circus
21.12.2000: Zeta Jones to sue Hello!
21.12.2000: Zeta Jones free to sue Hello! services search and buy targeted mailing lists
Agency preview: over 1400 agencies to search

Printable version | Send it to a friend | Read it later | See saved stories

UP © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003