Charlotte Church waived fee for 'good press'

 

Charlotte Church described today how she agreed to waive a £100,000 fee for singing at Rupert Murdoch's wedding in exchange for a promise of future favourable coverage in his papers.

The star, dubbed the Voice of an Angel, told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards she was just 13 at the time and wanted to take the money.

But she was persuaded by her management and record company that she should go for the option of being "looked on favourably" by a "powerful man" like Mr Murdoch.

Church, 25, said she accepted that her strategy failed and that the media mogul's newspapers had since been "some of the worst offenders".

Recounting her experiences of press intrusion, the singer cited a News of the World article reporting her father was having an affair and that her mother had attempted suicide.

On another occasion The Sun revealed she was pregnant for the first time before she had even told her family. She suggested the story must have come from phone hacking or other surveillance.

Church was asked to sing at Mr Murdoch's 1999 wedding to Wendi Deng on the media tycoon's yacht in New York.

She said she was given the choice of receiving a £100,000 fee - the biggest she had ever been offered at the time - or receiving favourable publicity from Mr Murdoch's papers in the future.

"Despite my teenage business head screaming, 'think how many Tamagotchis you could buy!', I was pressured into taking the latter option," she said in a witness statement.

"This strategy failed for me. In fact Mr Murdoch's newspapers have since been some of the worst offenders, so much so that I have sometimes felt that there has actually been a deliberate agenda."

The inquiry heard it was later claimed her performance was organised as a surprise for Mr Murdoch, but Church said she understood the request to be specifically from him.

The singer said she was told Mr Murdoch wanted her to sing Pie Jesu, even after she pointed out that it was a funeral song.

Church told the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London she faced media attention from the age of 12 but the intrusion was worst when she was between 16 and 20.

The inquiry was told that her manager found evidence of a camera hidden in a shrub outside her home, she was chased by photographers in cars and paparazzi tried to take pictures up her skirt and down her top.

The singer spoke of the "massive psychological effect" of a News of the World story in December 2005 about her father's affair, headlined "Church's three-in-a-bed cocaine shock".

The article had a "massive, massive impact" on her family and in particular her mother's health, the inquiry heard.

Church said: "They knew how vulnerable she (my mother) was and still printed this story, which was horrific. I can't think of any justification for printing a story like that.

"I see no public interest at all that it serves other than to sell papers."

Other examples of media intrusion and inaccuracy highlighted by Church included:

:: A clock on The Sun's website counting down to her 16th birthday in a reference to the fact she was reaching the age of sexual consent;

:: A "shadow network" of staff at hotels, restaurants and airlines who allegedly tipped off journalists about her movements;

:: An article in The Sunday Times based on an interview with her after the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, which she said misleadingly suggested she was critical of the New York firefighters' celebrity status.

Church said in her statement: "Through my success as a singer, I grew up in front of cameras and reporters, and I was not allowed the time to learn and make mistakes in private as most children and teenagers do.

"Whilst I have been determined to not let the media change me, the coverage has been utterly horrifying at times and devastating to those around me."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Urgent Requirement - Central Manchester

£20000 - £23000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Guru Careers: Social Media Executive / SEO Executive

£20 - 25K + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Social Media...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions