Catherine, Michael Win Hello! Lawsuit
Friday brought good news for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The couple emerged victorious in a fierce court battle against Britain's Hello! Magazine, after it printed unauthorized -- and, they contended, unflattering -- photos of their splashy November 2000 wedding.
The Douglases had claimed that Hello!'s photos invaded their privacy and damaged their careers. Although Zeta-Jones, 33, just won an Oscar for her role in "Chicago," and Douglas, 58, is about to open in the new movie "It Runs in the Family," their court victory appears to have been pegged to their right to privacy.
Justice Lindsay of London's High Court will decide the amount of damages at a later date, say reports. The stars were suing Hello! for $800,000.
In a joint statement, the couple said, "We deeply appreciate that the court has recognized the principle that every individual has the right to be protected from excessive and unwarranted media intrusion into their private lives."
In their legal defense, the Douglases claimed that under the Human Rights Act, incorporated into English law in October 2000, they were afforded a right to privacy at their wedding, despite their having struck a $1.6 million deal to sell their wedding pictures to OK! magazine, a rival to Hello!
When she took to the stand earlier this year, Zeta-Jones, who is due to deliver her second child any second now, testified that she felt "violated" by the pictures that ran in Hello!
Douglas testified that Hello!'s photographer had committed "one of the most vindictive and mean-spirited acts you can imagine."
Hello! argued that the couple had forfeited the right to privacy by selling pictures to OK! -- and then agreeing to their syndication all over the globe.