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Wednesday, November 12, 2003 1:41 PM
Zeta-Jones and her husband Michael Douglas are seen in Hollywood in this May 13 file photo. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Zeta-Jones may sue over Atkins diet stories

LOS ANGELES - Lawyers for Oscar-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones say she may be beautiful, but she didn't get that way from the Atkins diet, thank you very much, and she won't have anyone suggesting that she did.

Lawyers for Zeta-Jones have sent a letter to news organizations saying that she has been wrongly linked in some reports to the diet which, according to the letter, "has been derided by nutritionists and other health care officials for decades."

The attorneys say they are currently investigating the stories "and we intend to pursue claims on her behalf against each and every publication responsible for the creation and initial growth of these false and damaging stories."

A copy of the letter first surface on the Web site The Smoking Gun (www.thesmokinggun.com). Zeta-Jones attorney John Lavely, who signed the letter, could not be reached for comment.

Richard Rothstein, a spokesman for Atkins, could not be reached for comment late on Tuesday, but told The Smoking Gun that the Atkins organization had not been contacted by lawyers for Zeta-Jones.

"It's never been our policy to seek celebrity endorsements," Rothstein said. "Where tabloids get their info is a complete mystery to me."

Lavely said in the letter, "By stating that Ms. Zeta-Jones uses or endorses the Atkins diet, these publications are falsely representing to the average reader, including many young women who look up to my client and admire her beautiful appearance, that Ms. Zeta-Jones would recommend this diet to (those) looking to lose weight,"

Lavely added that the news reports made it appear that Zeta-Jones "is more concerned about her outward appearance than she is with serious health concerns."

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