Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas’ $1.5 Million Wedding Caused a Magazine Court Case

Expensive celebrity weddings are not foreign to tabloid-obsessed fans but actors Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas’s wedding bill shocked many. At the time of their wedding in 2000, their $1.5 million affair was one of the most expensive Hollywood had seen. Magazine companies vying for the rights to the wedding photos fought in court, with the couple participating in one of the trials.

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas’s wedding

The couple were first introduced during a film festival in August 1998 through mutual friends, then-couple Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith. Us Weekly reports that Douglas told his now-wife at the time of their first date out for drinks, “You know, I’m going to be the father of your children.” 

That same November, Zeta-Jones confirmed she and Douglas were expecting their first child together. On New Years’ Eve 1999, Douglas popped the question at his Aspen, Colorado home.

Zeta-Jones and Douglas wed in a massive ceremony in New York City at the Plaza Hotel in November 2000. The star-studded guest list included Sharon Stone, Jack Nicholson, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tom Hanks just to name a few.

Source: YouTube

Related: How Did Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas Meet?

Zeta-Jones’s Christian Lacroix wedding gown cost a reported $250,000. In addition to a 40-member Welsh choir singing at the ceremony. Jimmy Buffett and Art Garfunkel also performed. In lieu of gifts, all guests were asked to donate money to a trust fund set up for the couple’s son.

Multiple reports allege that the wedding cost a whopping $1.5 million, though Zeta-Jones admitted Douglas refused to tell her the amount of the final bill. 300 guests were said to be in attendance.

Despite the couple being so high-profile, all press was banned with the exception of one photographer, with Douglas saying it was “the best way to control the media blitz.”

Catherina Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas sell their wedding photos – the couple and magazine companies sue over rights to the photos

Zeta-Jones and Douglas may have spent millions of dollars on their wedding but they earned it back quickly after selling their wedding photos to the press. Per ABC, the couple sold the exclusive photo rights to OK! Magazine for a supposed $1.4 million. From there, People Magazine purchased the rights to republish the photos for $800k, bringing the total price to $2.2 million.

A battle between OK! And Hello! Magazine ensued after Hello! published low-quality images captured with a hidden camera at the wedding. Hello! was sued for damages, with Zeta-Jones testifying during the six-week trial. She felt the photos did not highlight her in the best light and were a violation of her privacy. 

Source: YouTube

Related: Catherine Zeta-Jones Waited 20 Years to See Her Wedding Photos With Michael Douglas

Zeta-Jones said in court that she felt “violated” by the “sleazy and unflattering” photographs. The Daily Mail reports that during her testimony, Zeta-Jones noted a photo of Douglas feeding her cake published by Hello!. “I don’t usually like my husband shoving a spoon down my throat to be photographed,” she said. 

Douglas and Zeta-Jones won the case but it was appealed. They eventually decided to not continue with the case but OK! Moved forward without them and won the appeal in 2007 for over $2 million.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas recently celebrated their 20-year wedding anniversary

Their wedding caused a hassle but it didn’t interfere with their marriage. In November 2020, Zeta-Jones and Douglas celebrated 20 years of marriage. 

Zeta-Jones shared a sweet Instagram tribute to her husband, writing, “20 years ago today Michael and I were married!! What an amazing magical night that was! And 7304.85 days and nights on, I love you now as I did then. ( except for the point 85 bit) 😂 Thank you for the love and laughter.”

Douglas shared similar sentiments, captioning a video montage, “Happy 20th Anniversary my darling! I love you always and forever.”

Zeta-Jones and Douglas have two children, Dylan, 20, and Carys, 17.