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Perfect union, but for pictures

London, Feb. 10: Catherine Zeta-Jones told a judge today she was “devastated, shocked and appalled” when she realised her wedding day had been invaded by paparazzi.

She said the day had been everything she had wanted when she married Michael Douglas at the Plaza Hotel, New York, in November 2000.

But when she found out that pirated pictures of the £1.2 million event were to be published in Hello! magazine, “our peace and happiness evaporated”, she told the High Court.

“I felt violated and that something precious had been stolen from me.”

The couple are suing Hello! for £500,000 damages for invasion of their privacy. In addition to the couple’s claim, OK! magazine is suing its rival for £1.75 million for lost sales and syndication rights.

The pair are giving evidence today to try to convince Justice Lindsay that their privacy and confidence were breached at the wedding, for which they had sold exclusive coverage rights to another celebrity magazine, OK!. They had signed a £1 million deal with OK! after turning down a £1 million-plus offer from Hello!.

She said that she had had photos of her immediate family — and of her son Dylan a few weeks after his birth — published in OK! by arrangement, but not in Hello!. The money had gone into a trust for her son.

She said she had not invited any photographers engaged by OK! to the wedding. The two photographers used had been chosen by her and her husband.

Hello! magazine with the wedding photos hit the newsstands three days before OK!, which had paid the couple £1 million for exclusive rights to cover the lavish wedding.

The heavily pregnant Welsh actress and her movie-star husband Michael Douglas, both clad in black, had earlier swept silently past throngs of press photographers and were ushered into the court complex through a private entrance.

Zeta-Jones wore an all black trouser suit and black stiletto heeled shoes with her hair long, but swept back. Douglas wore a long black overcoat and guided her away from reporters.

Zeta-Jones said she and Douglas had racked their brains trying to work out which of their friends had betrayed their trust and determined not to let Hello! get away with it.

The case has attracted huge international attention with court staff forced to allocate tickets to media organisations vying to see the celebrity pair take the stand inside the cramped and old-fashioned court room.

Scaffolding has been erected outside the ancient Royal Courts of Justice in central London for the pack of photographers while security inside is tighter than usual.

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