LONDON – Celebrity magazine Hello! (search) plans to appeal a court ruling ordering it to pay more than $1.9 million to a rival for printing unauthorized photos of Michael Douglas (search) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (search), a lawyer for the magazine said Thursday.
Last year, a judge at the High Court in London ruled that Hello! had breached the Hollywood couple's commercial confidentiality by publishing secretly snapped photos of their November 2000 wedding. Douglas and Zeta-Jones had signed an exclusive deal with rival magazine OK! for rights to pictures of the nuptials at New York's Plaza Hotel.
Judge John Lindsay awarded the couple token damages of $28,000, but said OK! was owed more than $1.9 million for commercial damage to its expected exclusive coverage.
Both sides were granted permission to appeal aspects of the judgment.
Hello! lawyer Christopher Hutchings said the magazine would go to court Monday to appeal against liability and the damages award to OK!
He said Hello! would argue that it had run its own wedding pictures as a "spoiler" to its rival's coverage — a common practice in journalism.
"This was a spoiler, no different to any other spoiler in the past or since. Hello! has been subject to many spoilers, including ones from OK!" Hutchings said.
He said the magazine would not challenge the award to Douglas and Zeta-Jones.
During a dramatic six-week hearing last year, Zeta-Jones said she had felt "violated" when Hello! published its "sleazy and unflattering" pictures.
She singled out an image that showed Douglas feeding her wedding cake, saying "I don't usually like my husband shoving a spoon down my throat to be photographed."