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Picture row damages to be sorted
The Welsh star told how she had felt "devastated, shocked and appalled" when she realised that paparazzi had gatecrashed her wedding
Picture row damages to be sorted
17.34PM BST, 16 Jul 2003

Catherine Zeta Jones and husband Michael Douglas have asked for £600,000 damages after Hello! published unauthorised photographs of their wedding.

The pair claimed victory in April when High Court judge Mr Justice Lindsay ruled in April that the celebrity magazine had breached the couple's rights of confidence by publishing the pictures of the ceremony.

It is now up to the same judge to decide what damages Hello! must pay to the couple and to OK!, its rival celebrity magazine which had signed a £1 million exclusive deal with the Douglases to cover the New York wedding in November 2000.

The original amount the Douglases wanted was £500,000 but the extra sum would compensate them for the personal distress they suffered after the paparazzi invaded their wedding, their lawyer told a High Court judge.

Alastair Wilson QC, representing the Hollywood golden couple, was opening the second phase of the legal battle against the magazine.

He told Mr Justice Lindsay that the Douglases were entitled to damages not only for the damage caused to their commercial rights - they had signed a £1 million exclusive deal with celebrity magazine OK! - but also for the real personal distress they had suffered.

"This is rather like a burglary when possessions are stolen and the value gone and at the same time you feel a sense of personal invasion of privacy.

"This is a real distress quite separate from the value of possessions which have also disappeared."

OK! had also sued for £1.75 million but the total claim is now believed to be around £2.5 million.

During the six-week hearing of one of the most publicised cases heard at the High Court in London, which has cost more than £3 million in legal fees so far, Zeta Jones, 33, told how she had felt "devastated, shocked and appalled" when she realised that paparazzi had gatecrashed her wedding at New York's Plaza Hotel and secretly taken pictures despite massive security precautions.

The judge said the wedding was an exceptional event for any bride and groom and just because Michael Douglas, 58, and Zeta Jones were public figures it did not lessen their right to complain about intrusion.

There was no doubt that the couple had suffered real distress, said the judge. Zeta Jones had cried when she learned of the unauthorised photographs.

Mr Wilson said the Douglases' "sense of euphoria was suddenly shattered" when they realised that Hello! had pictures taken during their wedding.

He said they had taken enormous care to try to preserve their privacy and any personal damages should be pushed up beyond what might have been allotted.

"We say it would not be unreasonable in the extreme circumstances to award each of them £50,000 by way of damages for their personal distress."

The QC, turning to commercial damages for the Douglases, said one way to calculate these would be on the notional amount the couple would have charged Hello! to use the pictures - a figure which had been set at £500,000.

The hearing, which could last up to two weeks, was adjourned until tomorrow.

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