Hello! owner apologises over Zeta Jones pictures

Hello! magazine owner Eduardo Sanchez today apologised to Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas for publishing their wedding pictures without permission.

But he told a High Court judge that he thought their reaction when they gave evidence last week was "a little bit exaggerated".

Mr Sanchez is being questioned via an interpreter by Michael Tugendhat QC, who is representing the two Hollywood stars.

The barrister asked Mr Sanchez about untrue details about the wedding in his magazine, which is being sued for a total of £2.25 million by the couple and rival magazine OK! which was granted exclusive rights to cover the wedding in November 2000.

Mr Tugendhat said the text read that Mr Douglas had surprised guests by never dancing with his new bride at the Plaza Hotel in New York. It was also stated that he had given her a £1 million yacht as a wedding present.

Mr Sanchez said the text was probably written at the Madrid offices of Hello!'s Spanish counterpart, Hola!, and added that he had never paid any attention to the text, only to the layout of the pictures, which he oversaw personally.

He was unaware that the statements were untrue, he said.

Mr Tugendhat asked: "Do you not think that the implication of the statements is unpleasant?"

Mr Sanchez replied: "Well, it doesn't seem to me to be unpleasant."

Mr Tugendhat, again referring to the pictures, asked: "They are not the sort you would like to see if there was a wedding in your own family?"

Mr Sanchez: "I don't think there is anything particularly unpleasant about them or offensive."

Told by Mr Tugendhat that Catherine Zeta Jones was very distressed by the publication, he replied: "I am sorry about that."