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The Sunday Times - Britain

May 15, 2005

Jordan’s £2m wedding outprices Hollywood

THE financial pulling power of reality television stars in Britain has overtaken Hollywood with the £1.75m sale of rights to the wedding pictures of Jordan, the silicone-enhanced model, and Peter Andre, her pop star fiancé.

OK!, the celebrity magazine, will pay almost double the sum that it gave Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas for photographs of their wedding in 2000. The deal also easily surpasses the £1m reportedly paid to David and Victoria Beckham for the photographic rights to their wedding the year before.

The Hollywood couple’s global reputation has been built on film successes such as The Mask of Zorro for Zeta-Jones and Basic Instinct for Douglas. By contrast Andre and Jordan — whose real name is Katie Price — are almost unknown outside Britain. Their celebrity stems largely from the public blossoming of their romance last year on the television show I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! Price is expecting Andre’s child next month.

The couple have been told that the deal depends on no wedding pictures being published before their appearance in OK! The magazine does not want a repeat of the farce surrounding the wedding pictures of Zeta-Jones and Douglas, which ended in a six-week High Court trial in 2003 after the rival Hello! magazine published unauthorised photographs.

CAN Associates, Price’s management company, is believed to have hired a team of former SAS soldiers and intelligence officers for the September wedding. The main threat to the deal is likely to be a wedding guest with a phone camera.

The earning power of Price and Andre is the greatest success so far for the new breed of star. Reality television shows in which the public vote for contestants have spawned celebrities with minimal talent beyond an ability to win audience support. Their stars include Jade Goody, who was a Big Brother contestant.

Lord Brocket, the convicted fraudster, and Christine Hamilton, wife of Neil, the disgraced former Tory MP, have had their reputations lifted by appearing on reality shows.

For others such as John Lydon, the singer nicknamed Johnny Rotten because of the state of his teeth, reality television has helped to revive flagging careers.

The closest parallel to Price is Rebecca Loos, the former personal assistant who allegedly had an affair with Beckham. She later received wide publicity when she manually stimulated a pig on television and she has since had breast enlargement.

Price, 27, nicknamed “Queen of Chavs”, came to prominence as a page three topless model. She was widely derided for allowing tabloid newspapers to chronicle her breast enlargement — although this made her a celebrity almost overnight.

She has a three-year-old son, Harvey, by Dwight Yorke, the Birmingham City footballer. The boy was born blind and has health problems. Price has made little secret of his difficulties and has portrayed herself as a “glamour mum”, publishing an autobiography.

Andre was a faded pop star who had previously had a hit in 1996. The couple are rumoured to have wanted to marry at the 13th-century Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire.

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