2003-02-12 • greater gripes

Rage and Catherine Zeta-Jones

It's a whole new day but sadly, i am still in rant mode. I can't help it. My panties are still in a bit of a twist about the whole Princess Honksalot experience, but i'm bringing fresh ire, all new and sparkling rage to the table today too.

First, let's talk about the weather. It is unnaturally and impossibly frigid out there, people. Evil, arctic cold. Killer freeze-yer-exposed-bits-in-mere seconds cold. and windy. The bitter breath-snatching, body-aching, face-burning kind of windy no one should be forced to endure. Except maybe Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, but I'll get to that.

It is cold and it is nasty and i don't wanna go out there. At. All. And I'm sure you're thinking "Well then, don't. Don't go outside. Stay inside, snuggle with the wolf and drink hot piping things." Case, you know, closed. Except that it isn't. You don't have the wolf laying at your feet whining and whinging and fixing you with the tragic and baleful "I'm so miserable I think I just might die" expression of pain and sadness and general liquid gloom. And the hot and piping things? Well, I suspect it just might be the hot and piping things ... the coffee and the tea and the hot chocolate ... the hot and piping and ever so caffeinated things... that have been giving me the noggin crushing, brain numbing, vision blurring headaches that are probably more aptly described as migraines I've been experiencing lately.

And then there's the chuckleheads on the radio. Driving back from dropping the handsome guy off at the train station this morning, I was listening to some morning show goofs discuss the Oscar nominations yesterday. And of course they had to get on the horn to call some "Hollywood Insider" 'cuz that's what radio chuckleheads do. And the "Hollywood Insider" they get is some droney doofus named Beaumont Hollywood or Grant Goldenpubes or something who has all the charisma of a soggy brown paper bag and this whiny nasally completely off-putting tone to his voice. And the radio chuckleheads are yukking it up and trying to pry delicious golden nuggets of gossipy goodness from Mr. Goldenpubes and Mr. Goldenpubes is giving them curt one-word answers and sounding all vaguely miffed and stuff and it suddenly occurs to me that they're probably paying this nasal knob for his "Hollywood Insider" knowledge and that really kind of angers me. Not, you know, enough that I want to sock him in the eye or anything, but enough.

Because really, what's it take to be a "Hollywood Insider"? what kind of learning and sterling qualifications does that require? My bet is that Mr. Goldenpubes' qualifications consist entirely of the fact that if he stands on the lid of his toilet and peers out the bathroom window of his apartment... and if it is a really clear, entirely smog-less day... he can just barely make out the tops of the Ls and the Y in the hillside "Hollywood" sign. That and he once saw Tony Danza slurping down a refreshing Orange Julius at the mall in Pasedena. That's my guess.

And that got me to thinking about Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas and their lawsuit against Hello! magazine and the article I read about it in the paper yesterday. And suddenly my head cleared, the skies brightened and little birds appeared and started singing sweet chirpy little bird songs to me whilst perched on my dashboard. Because I suddenly realized things could be worse. I could be Catherine Zeta-Jones and have had unflattering, unauthorized wedding pictures of myself taken where I appear to be lit by bad disco lighting and look a bit, y'know, fat while exuberantly embracing my new and fabulously rich husband and allowing him to feed me forkfuls of (gasp!) wedding cake and these awful blurry bad disco pictures might jeporadize my career and future Oscar nominations and stuff and cause me to suffer horribly enough that I'd have to sue for millions of pounds which is a mere pittance, I know, but still it's the principal of the thing and I'm all eight months pregnant and therefore hugely hormonal and stuff but still, you can see how tragic this is! For your edification:

Stolen wedding photos 'sleazy,' Zeta-Jones tells court in £500,000 lawsuit

 by Aaron Wherry of the National Post

Actor Michael Douglas testified in London's High Court yesterday that a "spiteful" celebrity magazine caused him and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, "irreparable" damage when it published unauthorized photos of the couple's wedding.

The Hollywood stars are suing Hello! magazine for printing a series of unauthorized, blurry shots from the 2000 wedding at New York's Plaza Hotel, despite a £1-million deal between the pair and rival celebrity magazine OK!

Three days before OK! was to publish its "exclusive" photos, Hello! published its own.

Douglas, 58, and Zeta-Jones, 33, claim their privacy was breached and are seeking £500,000 for loss of income, stress and damage to their careers.

"I consider it a pittance compared, two-and-a-half years later, to what we have gone through," Douglas said when quizzed about the size of the claim.

Zeta-Jones, bedecked in diamonds and almost eight months pregnant, said that while £1-million might be a lot to some people in the room, it was "not that much for us," adding later: "This is not about money. This is absolutely not about money."

When asked about the offensiveness of the unauthorized photos, the couple noted a number of issues. "They were poor quality, sleazy, unflattering and looked like they had been stolen -- as indeed they had," Zeta-Jones said.

A photo of Douglas feeding Zeta-Jones a piece of cake was also singled out for complaint.

"The fork is stuck down my wife's throat," Douglas said. "There's a hairy arm in the photograph. We did not approve that photograph nor the person [who took] it to be in the room at the time."

"I don't usually like my husband shoving a spoon down my throat to be photographed," Zeta-Jones said. "The quality was what every bride would hate to have out there. It was cheap and tacky and everything I didn't want."

One Hello! photo, she said, "looks like my wedding was [lit with] bad disco lighting."

The star of the Golden Globe-winning musical Chicago also said the photos made her look large. "It was extremely important for my career that I regain my figure after giving birth to Dylan. I had put a lot of work in at the gym -- which I loathe going to," she said. "It is all too easy for the film industry to conclude that an actress is past her best."

Also bothersome was a photo of the couple in a particularly amorous embrace. "There is embracing -- and there is embracing," she said, with emphasis, prompting laughter from the courtroom.

Defence lawyer James Price later asked Douglas if he could seriously compare the damages he had suffered with the suffering of the maimed and disfigured people who often come to the court seeking damages. "I find your comparison highly offensive," Douglas replied.

Douglas and Zeta-Jones have said in witness statements they merely wanted the wedding to be a relaxed and private affair where guests could "let their hair down."

"Our peace and happiness evaporated. I felt violated and that something precious had been stolen from me. Our distress and anger at what Hello! did to us continues to his day," Zeta-Jones said.

Their goal in signing an exclusive deal with OK! was to avoid "the paparazzi frenzy that tends to happen around these events," Douglas said.

"This was going to be an overall look into the life of us -- in a classy way," Zeta-Jones said.

Price said the couple had allowed the OK! photographs to be syndicated to 20 other magazines around the world.

In addition to the couple's claim, OK! is suing Hello! for £1.75-million for lost sales and syndication rights. The ongoing trial is seen as a test case in the law surrounding celebrities and their privacy.

© Copyright  2003 National Post

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