Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas have partially won their case against Hello! magazine.
The Hollywood couple sued the celebrity magazine for publishing unauthorised photos of their wedding day, after they had sold exclusive rights to rival OK!
Damages have been awarded to the pair on the issue of commercial confidentiality but their privacy fight has been lost.
Hello! said that the couple had forfeited the right to privacy by selling pictures to OK! and then agreeing to the pictures featuring in other publications around the world.
What do you make of the ruling? Can celebrities expect privacy at the same time as publicising family events?
The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:
The tabloid newspapers and their equally over-zealous paparazzi photographers are the scourge of modern celebrities. In the 'cut-throat' world of tabloid exclusives where nothing is sacred and everything is fair game, I can understand the motivation behind Hello!'s action. Clearly, the Douglases feel (and quite rightly too) that they have to make an example out of Hello! and I am glad they won. Courting publicity does not give the tabloids an automatic right to harass these celebrities - as cynical as we might think their actions are. But it must also be borne in mind that although tabloids go too far, their relationship with celebrities is often mutually beneficial.
Celebrities have a simple choice; privacy, or the wealth and trappings of the showbiz lifestyle. Once someone chooses to pursue the latter the former is relinquished. A celebrity who courts publicity and expects the general public to pay for it basically gives the press free rein, and rightly so. The freedom of the press is a valued commodity which should not be stifled.
The Douglases had no choice really but to sue Hello!, but it throws up a whole heap of questions - where do you draw the line between courting publicity and press intrusion? Why have the public become so obsessed with the lives of the rich and famous? And how do we know when questioned under oath that actors and actresses are not performing? They make their whole careers from acting out extreme emotions. The court case will always overshadow their wedding, which should be memorable for all the right reasons. This one will just be remembered for all the money spent - before and after.
The court case will always overshadow their wedding, which should be memorable for all the right reasons
Kristy, Devon, UK
Celebrities think they can pick and choose when they get media attention to suit them. In the real world it doesn't work like that and they should shut up or change careers.
Andrew Hill, UK
This whole episode has been ridiculous. If they have really taken Hello! to court, because they felt that their privacy was infringed upon (not to mention the violation they experienced - poor loves) and not solely because they were after any monetary gain, surely they will be sending their "winnings" to charity?
I'm not sure either party comes out with much credit - any claim of invasion of privacy after opening the wedding up to a magazine is unconvincing. There is a strong whiff of celebrities seeking to protect their power and commercial interests, whilst Hello! tried to obtain shots via the back door after they failed to win in commercial bidding.
You marry someone because you love them and you want the world to know, both the magazines helped the world to know, the couple should be pleased. This has nothing to do with invasion of privacy, if it was they wouldn't have sold the pictures to anyone.
Good on them, and I'm glad they won. It was a total infringement on their privacy. Hello! had no right to be there, let alone sneak in and take photos and then publish them. If they had lost, then it would mean that all agreements between stars and magazines would be pointless.
I'm glad they won. It was a total infringement on their privacy
Why do celebrities spend months or years trying to gain publicity and then, when they achieve it and earn lots of money, try to avoid it?
If they can demean the sanctity of marriage to turn it into a lucrative showbiz extravaganza, they get no sympathy from me. Even the trial and attendant publicity have given them loads more high-profile publicity that Max Clifford would charge a fortune for - even if he could hire a venue as high-profile as the High Court. If the couple want the privacy they talk about, retire immediately to a cottage in south Wales and give us all a rest!
Andrew Longman, UK
I'm glad they won. I am sick and tired of the fact that the media feels they can do (or photo) anyone they like anytime they like, even at private events. Maybe now that the precedent has been set, more cases like this can go forward.
David M Brown, UK
Big celebrities are seeking to control their press more and more now. I don't think they should be able to. Personally, I don't care if Liz Hurley has cellulite or Zeta Jones looks greedy scoffing her wedding cake, but they climbed the greasy pole of celebrity by exploiting every excruciating opportunity to be photographed and talked about. We don't hear cries of protest from lesser celebs who still crave the publicity. Why should the A-list be able to exert control now that they have 'made it'?
David Cobern, UK
Can anyone stop photographers from photographing them in public? If you choose a job where you have to wear a tie - you wear a tie. If you are lucky enough to become a celebrity you have to put up with the media. It's a simple choice in life of which path you take and the responsibilities and problems these paths create. I think they should grow up and shut up.
If you are lucky enough to become a celebrity you have to put up with the media
Andy, Lancashire, England
Andy, Lancashire, England
I think it's disgusting. They are in the public eye and a wedding is a public ceremony - what's the problem?
The ruling against Hello! was just and fair. However, I hope the courts set the compensation at a nominal level and order the Douglases to pay all the legal costs involved for bringing such a ridiculous case in the first place.
I think they're lost in their own little world. Does anyone really give a stuff about what picture featured in what magazine?
Dave B, UK
Celebrities can do what they like. They are the new gods of the Western world.
Eddie Shaw-Smith, UK
What I find interesting about these sorts of cases is that when a celeb starts out in life they want EVERYONE to take their picture and put them in every magazine, but as soon as they make it big, they don't want ANY pictures taken and published - claiming that their 'right to privacy' has been violated. The villains, they claim, are the very people that helped get them to the top!
The villains are the very people that helped get them to the top!
Matthew Robinson, England
Matthew Robinson, England
I think stars do have a right to privacy even if they have publicised their family events. Michael and Catherine gave their fans a slice of their wedding, but on their terms which is completely fine. Can a magazine stalk a couple? Yes. Look at the way Hello! have put their faces over their front covers since this case started. A magazine can taunt and the media will have to seriously re-think their attitude from this day forward.
Neil Peter Henley, Petts Wood, Kent UK
The fact that they sold photos for financial gain was incentive enough to get others interested to try and get illicit photos. They should have followed Zoe Ball's example, posed for the press and then asked for privacy. These people are in the limelight to make their money.
You may not like the couple or what they did, but they rightly have the freedom to sell their own wedding pictures to whoever they choose.
I'd take half their paparazzi for half their money. What's a few photos?? If you want a private and quiet life - don't search for fame.
A sensible judgement since privacy is hard to justify when you are already inviting the public (through OK!) into your wedding. Hopefully this will provide a warning to all areas of the media that a paid-for exclusive should be exclusive. Can't help feeling that the real victor here is OK! magazine though.
Phil Eadie, UK
I think this is justified. It is every bride's right to vet the photos shown to the public... most of us have a wedding album done by a professional. I don't show people the ones of me with red eyes, or looking exhausted at the end of the reception, why should a magazine (that is making money of the back of them) show unauthorised pictures? Being a public figure doesn't make you public property.
It is every bride's right to vet photos shown to the public
They entered the public eye of their own free will, they cannot choose when and where that eye will look at them, especially as weddings by the very law that governs them are a public event with anyone allowed to enter and object to it.
Colin Wing, England
If it wasn't about money, can we expect an announcement shortly that they will be donating all damages and proceeds from the photos to charity?
The court ruling was fair. There was privacy intrusion. Zeta Jones described this as making her feel "devastated" and "violated". However these words seem more appropriate to describe how a victim of real barbarity might feel (ie rape victim, or wartime refugee). If I were marrying someone I loved with all my heart I doubt that anything could completely ruin my happiness as this pair claimed.
I definitely don't make my money based on my looks, but I know I shudder every time I see more pictures of my wedding taken by my friends or family, where I feel the angle just isn't right, or the lighting, or anything that I feel doesn't make me look the way I do in the professional ones. I can understand their anger to be honest with you - and yes I did marry someone I love with all my heart, but it doesn't stop me worrying about how I look!
Jennifer, Netherlands, ex-UK
Is that Kylie Minogue's mother in the background of your picture?