by Sarah Hall
Nov 11, 2003, 12:30 AM PT
Catherine Zeta-Jones is either really sensitive about her weight, or she just enjoys a good courtroom drama.Or perhaps it's a little of both.
In any case, the actor is fighting mad over reports that she's used the Atkins diet to shed some pounds--and she's siccing her legal eagles on anyone daring to declare that such an outrage has occurred.
Just last week, the Intolerable Cruelty star and hubby Michael Douglas received a $24,000 judgment against Hello! magazine for publishing wedding photos that a British judge ruled breached the pair's commercial confidence.
However, Zeta-Jones had sought a far greater settlement over the photos, in large part because she felt they made her look fat.
Now the Welsh beauty is prepared to do battle over published reports that she is an Atkins devotee.
On Monday, the Smoking Gun published a letter from Zeta-Jones' attorney warning media outlets away from associating the star's name with the popular diet.
"Please be advised that Ms. Zeta-Jones has never been on the Atkins diet, does not endorse the Atkins diet, either implicitly or explicitly, and has never authorized the use of her name, likeness or persona in any way to endorse or promote the Atkins diet, either commercially or otherwise," the letter reads in part.
Apparently, news sources such as the New York Post and London's Sunday Telegraph have incorrectly outed the Chicago thesp as an Atkins follower. An October 20 People story disputed these claims, stating that "a source close to the famously curvy star" claimed Zeta-Jones "eats what she wants."
Atkins spokesman Richard Rothstein claimed ignorance as to how the star's name came to be linked with the diet.
"It's never been our policy to seek celebrity endorsements," he told the Smoking Gun. "Where tabloids get their info is a complete mystery to us."
According to Zeta-Jones' lawyer, the actor is steamed because association with the diet may damage her reputation and affect her ability to ink endorsements with health-related products in the future.
"In essence," the letter read, "my client is being made to look as if she is more concerned about her outward appearance than she is with serious health concerns. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Zeta-Jones keeps her attorneys busy. Apart from her recent victory over Hello!, the star sued French cosmetics company Caudalie in September, accusing it of unlawfully using her name to hawk its wares on its Website.
When she's not busy filing lawsuits, the star has set aside some time for acting--she recently inked a deal to reprise her breakthrough role opposite Antonio Banderas in a sequel to 1998's The Mask of Zorro. She's currently shooting the Steve Spielberg-directed Terminal, in which she costars with Tom Hanks.
She and Douglas will also be serving as hosts of the annual Nobel Peace Prize concert on December 11, featuring performances by Tim McGraw, the Chieftains with Rosanne Cash and the Cardigans.