A Legal Setback for the Douglases?
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have encountered what may be a setback in their breach of privacy case against Hello! magazine, which published "unauthorized" photos of their November 2000 New York wedding.
On Wednesday, the judge in the case declared that weddings are public occasions according to the Book of Common Prayer -- as evidenced by the fact that the ceremony includes the minister asking if any member of the public can declare reasons why the marriage should not proceed.
"It would be absurd to make the wedding so secure as to exclude any possible objectors," said Justice Lindsay, as quoted by the BBC.
"It is an affirmation of a new relationship, a public sign of a private arrangement."
The stars are ticked off at Hello! for publishing the unauthorized photos and hitting the newsstands three days before rival magazine OK! arrived with its official shots. The Douglases had sold the photo rights to their splashy, star-studded Plaza Hotel wedding to OK! for $1.65 million.
Douglas, 58, and Zeta-Jones, 33, are seeking some $800,000 in damages, citing a loss of income, stress and damage to their careers because of the poor quality of the photos.
The jurist's comments Wednesday followed arguments by Hello!'s attorney, James Price, who told the courtroom that the couple decided to turn their wedding into a media event in 21 countries throughout the world when they signed the OK! deal.
"A wedding is an intimate occasion -- but when they have 350 guests one cannot possibly characterize that as private," said Price.
The hearing will reconvene Monday, when the stars themselves are expected to sit in the witness box.
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