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Douglas: Hello! snaps were revenge

Douglas and Zeta-Jones arrive at London's High Court on Monday.
Douglas and Zeta-Jones arrive at London's High Court on Monday.

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Michael Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, appeared for their suit against a London newspaper. CNN's Matthew Chance reports (February 10)
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start quoteThey were poor quality, sleazy, unflattering and looked like they had been stolen -- as indeed they hadend quote
-- Catherine Zeta-Jones

LONDON, England -- Hollywood star Michael Douglas told a court a celebrity magazine published unauthorised photos of his wedding to Catherine Zeta-Jones as revenge after it lost a bidding war for the rights.

The couple sold the rights for the wedding pictures to OK -- Hello! magazine's biggest rival -- but Hello! then published unauthorised photos of the ceremony and lavish reception party.

The couple are suing Hello! for 500,000 ($800,000) alleging breaches of privacy and confidence.

OK is also suing the magazine, which published its photos three days before OK hit news stands, for 1.75 million ($2.9 million) for lost sales and syndication deals.

Douglas told the High Court hearing in London: "We believed Hello! was exacting revenge on us because we had decided to provide the rights to publish photographs of our wedding to their competitor. The whole thing felt spiteful."

He said he knew the wedding would attract intense interest and that he believed providing exclusive access to one publication would be the best way to control events.

"We thought this would be a more ordered way and it would eliminate the paparazzi frenzy that tends to happen around these events," he said.

Zeta-Jones also gave evidence on Monday describing how she was appalled by the sneak photos and their quality.

"The quality was what every bride would hate to have out there. It was cheap and tacky and everything I didn't want.

"They were poor quality, sleazy, unflattering and looked like they had been stolen -- as indeed they had," she said.

She said she was particularly distressed at shots showing her being fed cake, saying it made it look like all she did was eat.

"I did not want my husband shoving a spoon down my throat to be photographed ... It is offensive."

Zeta-Jones, star of films such as "The Mask of Zorro" and this year's Oscar-tipped "Chicago," said money was not the over-riding reason for selling the rights to their wedding photos and that they had actually accepted a lower bid from OK magazine.

"I get well compensated in my job and my husband has had a long career, financially successful, and it is a lot of money maybe to a lot of people in this room, but it is not that much for us," she said.

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