Zeta-Jones sets tongues wagging with top earnings in ad campaigns

It was BT that established the principle "it's good to talk". And T-Mobile have certainly expanded on the idea - at least to the satisfaction of Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The £11mfee the actress secured for her two-year television and print advertising services has placed her at the top of a poll of celebrity endorsements.

Zeta-Jones, whose curvy, raven-haired charms have taken her from her home in Wales, through television's The Darling Buds of May, to Hollywood stardom and a famous husband (Michael Douglas), was paid more than anybody else last year for her T-Mobile promotion.

According to the American advertising industry magazine AdWeek, which compiled the figures, she beat her fellow beauties Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts. Jolie made second place on the list thanks to her £7m deal with St John, the luxury clothes label which formed a special charity for children's causes as part of the package. And her partner, Brad Pitt, proved the only man to make the top 10 thanks to a £2.3m cheque from Heineken. He made eighth place.

Nearly all the remaining stars on the list, including Charlize Theron and Gwyneth Paltrow, were snapped up to promote perfumes and beauty products. L'Oreal paid £2.3m apiece to Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz for their charms. Nicole Kidman was in third position for her £7m deal to be the face of the classic Chanel No 5 scent.

But it is the Zeta-Jones package which stands out. AdWeek said the two-year deal she signed in 2002 to appear in the UK telecommunications giant's advertising was regarded as one of the most lucrative endorsements ever. It was renewed last year.

Zeta-Jones, a self-proclaimed "technology nut," said she was "incredibly excited" to be working with the telecoms company when the deal was signed.

In return, T-Mobile explained their choice. "Catherine's hard work, dedication and engaging personality have given her strong international appeal as a respected actress who lives to the fullest - on her own terms," Kai Uwe Ricke, its chief executive officer, said.

The 36-year-old star, who has two children by Douglas, who she married in November 2000, has appeared in a string of major films and is highly acclaimed for her very different performances in Traffic and Chicago, winning a best supporting actress Oscar for the latter.

But she has never shied away from using her fame to earn a living in other ways. She and her husband sold the rights to cover their wedding to OK! magazine - though said this was partly to stop a media scrum spoiling the day. That effort failed when Hello! magazine secured its own images, prompting legal action by the couple. She has also been a spokes-woman for Elizabeth Arden, fronting an advertising campaign for a new Oriental fragrance, Provocative Woman, under the slogan "Make Men Melt".

But not all big-name stars want to do likewise and many shun the world of advertising, relying on their lucrative film careers instead. The underlying joke in the film Lost in Translation is how some are willing to take the money available in Japan by doing campaigns there for products in a way they would never permit on home turf.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas