October 6, 2009 / 10:15 AM / 10 years ago

Madonna wins damages in UK over wedding pics

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Pop star Madonna won substantial damages from a British paper Tuesday for breaching her privacy and infringement of copyright by publishing “purloined” photos of her wedding to film director Guy Ritchie.

Madonna pays tribute to Michael Jackson at the start of the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in New York September 13, 2009. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

The singer, who has just completed her “Sticky & Sweet” year-long world tour, was not at London’s High Court for the settlement of her action against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail Sunday tabloid.

Her lawyer John Kelly told the court she would be donating the undisclosed damages to her Raising Malawi charity.

Kelly said the singer had gone to great pains to ensure that her wedding to her now ex-husband Ritchie in December 2000 had been wholly private.

But in 2003 an interior designer, who was working on her home in Beverly Hills, surreptitiously copied at least 27 photos from the wedding album and provided them to Bonnie Robinson who, in June 2008, offered to sell them to the Mail Sunday.

Kelly said that the newspaper did not purchase them at that time but waited until October 2008, when Madonna had announced that she was divorcing the British director and there was huge media interest about her marriage.

Just three days after she had announced her divorce, the paper published 10 of the photos.

Kelly said Madonna had chosen not to sell her wedding photos to the media.

“It was far more important to the claimant that the privacy of the occasion was maintained,” he said, adding that until the newspaper’s actions, no photos of the wedding had been published anywhere in the world.

Associated Newspapers’ lawyer, Niri Shan, said it accepted that it had been wrong and offered its sincere apologies to Madonna and her family.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison

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