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

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
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

Head of Business Development and Analytics - TV

competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Business Development Manager Content/Subscriptions

£50k + commission: Savvy Media Ltd: Great opportunity to work for a team that ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?