Don't miss today

Showbiz galleries

Talk showbiz!

Have your say

Are you excited about the new Star Wars movie? More polls » 

Hello! wins £1m damages appeal over Zeta photos

10:56am 18th May 2005
Catherine and Michael

Court battle: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones

Hello! magazine has won its challenge to a High Court order that it should pay more than £1million damages for publishing paparazzi pictures of the wedding of Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas.

Hello! admitted at a Court of Appeal hearing last December that the snatched pictures were published as a 'spoiler' to lessen the impact of rival OK! magazine's exclusive £1 million contract with the Douglases to cover the New York ceremony.

James Price QC, representing Hello!, told three judges that 'spoilers' were a well-known tactic in the newspaper and magazine industry and his clients had been victims in the past.

"This was something previously not considered unlawful. We are in the position that if you are going to compete in this industry you have to publish spoilers.

"But what happened to Hello! was that it was caught by a law which said 'stop it' retrospectively."

The ruling against Hello! came after a six-week High Court hearing in 2003 at which the actress told how she felt "devastated, shocked and appalled" when she realised unauthorised photographers had gatecrashed her wedding at the Plaza Hotel in November 2000.

She said she and her husband had signed the deal with OK! after turning down a higher offer from Hello!

Mr Justice Lindsay ruled that Hello! had breached the couple's rights of confidence but they had no claim in law for invasion of privacy.

He awarded the couple a total of just £14,600 but OK! got £1,033,156 for what the judge said was commercial damage to its expected exclusive coverage.

Hello! appealed over its liability to the magazine and the Hollywood couple and the amount of damages to be paid to OK!

Mail to a friend Print story Read later