Though Brad Pitt may not want her, celebrity magazines can't get enough of Jennifer Aniston (search).
Life & Style Weekly (search) thought it had won a high stakes auction last week, agreeing to pay $15,000 for exclusive rights to the first photos of Jennifer with another man — "Swingers" star Vince Vaughn (search).
The photos of the two hugging and kissing were the first of Aniston with another man since the bust-up of her marriage to Pitt exploded into the headlines.
Life & Style is putting Aniston on the cover and featuring the hotly disputed photos inside the issue that hits this week. The bust-up has been a newsstand bonanza for all of the celebrity weeklies.
Late Tuesday, editors at Life & Style were outraged when they learned that Us Weekly (search) is also going with the photos.
"Our belief is that anyone with any experience in purchasing photos would know that this is theft," fumed Mark Pasetsky, the general manager of Life & Style Weekly.
"I have an e-mail from the agency confirming our deal," said Pasetsky, who showed an e-mail from Randy Bauer at the Los Angeles-based Bauer Griffin Agency. The e-mail said that Us Weekly, which had seen the same photos as part of the auction process, had been informed on Friday that they had lost.
Calls to the office of Us Editor Janice Min and General Manager Kent Brownridge were referred to legal counsel Elizabeth McNamara at Davis, Wright Tremaine.
"Us Weekly is not in the business of stealing photos so it is not theft," she insisted. "Us Weekly understood that they had obtained a non-exclusive right to publish those photos and they published them in reliance on that agreement."
Pasetsky is still fuming. "It was clear to Life & Style that we won. I've never heard of this happening before." He said the new celeb magazine is looking at legal options.
Bauer backs his version. "I'm fully on the side of Life & Style," he said. "We sold them an exclusive."