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Costs ruling in Zeta Jones wedding case

Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas have been awarded more than three quarters of the 4 million they spent suing Hello! magazine over their wedding photographs.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and husband Michael Douglas /AP

The celebrity magazine, which used unauthorised pictures of the New York wedding in 2000, must foot the couple's massive legal bill together with the 1 million it spent on the case.

A spokesperson for the couple and OK! magazine, which paid 1 million to the couple for exclusive wedding pictures, claimed Hello! faced a total costs bill of 5 million.

But Christopher Hutchings, a solicitor for Hello!, said the judge who heard the case, Mr Justice Lindsay, had restricted the Douglases costs' claim.

It meant the 1 million plus damages the couple and OK! were awarded at the High Court would be wiped out.

"Hello! obviously faces a massive bill but when these figures are finally settled, the Douglases and OK! will also be hugely out of pocket," he said.

Mr Justice Lindsay ruled in April that Hello!'s use of unauthorised pictures taken secretly at the high security wedding was a breach of commercial confidentiality.

He awarded 14,000 to the couple and 1,033,156 to OK! which the claimants shared as total damages.

The judge today gave a ruling on who must pay the costs of the hugely-expensive litigation which began more than three years ago when Hello! produced a Douglas wedding edition ahead of OK!'s.

He awarded the claimants 75% of the costs of the hearing into blame and 85% of the costs of the hearing to decide the amount of damages.

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