The final act in the Catherine Zeta Jones and husband Michael Douglas’s long-running courtroom saga was being played out today at the High Court in London.
Mr Justice Lindsay was giving judgment on the Hollywood couple’s claim for the £600,000 (€874,000) damages they want from the celebrity magazine, Hello!, which published unauthorised photographs of their wedding.
Their lawyers argued at a damages hearing in July that their original claim for £500,000 (€728,000) should be increased to compensate them for the personal distress they suffered after the paparazzi invaded their wedding in New York in November 2000.
Alastair Wilson QC told the judge the Douglases were entitled to damages not only for the damage caused to their commercial rights – they had signed a £1m (€1.5m) exclusive deal with celebrity magazine OK! – but also for the real personal distress they had suffered.
The Douglases claimed victory when Mr Justice Lindsay ruled in April that Hello! Had breached their rights of confidence.
The same judge was today deciding what damages Hello! Must pay to the couple and to OK! Which originally had sued for £1.75m (€2.5m).
During the six-week hearing of one of the most publicised cases heard at the High Court in London, which has cost more than £3m (€4.4m) in legal fees, Zeta Jones, 33, said she 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 the couple had suffered real distress, said the judge.