In more of a goodbye than a hello, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas were awarded a relatively measly $24,250 in damages from the British celebrity magazine Hello! in London’s High Court on Friday, reports Reuters.
The figure is far short of the nearly $831,000 the couple wanted from the magazine for having published unauthorized photos of their splashy November 2000 wedding at New York’s Plaza Hotel.
During a colorful, month-long trial earlier this year in London, Zeta-Jones, 34, called the photos sleazy and unflattering. “I felt devastated … I felt violated,” she told the court in March about one shot, of her new husband feeding her cake. “I did not want my husband shoving a spoon down my throat to be photographed. … It is offensive.”
But Judge John Lindsay ruled against the couple on several key points. Although he said Hello! had breached the couple’s rights of confidence, he ruled against their claim of invasion of privacy and rejected their demands for “aggravated and exemplary damages.”
The jurist, however, did rule that Hello! rival OK! magazine was entitled to damages of about $1.7 million because their exclusive deal with Douglas and Zeta-Jones had been spoiled.
In a statement after the ruling, Hello! said it was “very happy” with the level of the award. “It reiterates clearly the decision of Mr. Justice John Lindsay that Hello! at no time had any intention of damaging Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.”
As to the more than 1 million pounds it now owes OK!, the magazine said: “We are obviously disappointed as to the amount awarded.”
OK!, in a statement, called the win “historic,” while, so far, not a peep from the Douglases.