Media Lifeline: Celebrity deals

OK! and Hello! have both tried spoiler tactics to lessen the value of their rival's exclusive celebrity deals

1990: When OK! launches, it moves straight into celebrity wedding exclusives, buying up the Liz Taylor-Larry Fortensky bash. But head-to-head rivalry with Hello! (originally launched in the UK in 1988) only fully ignites when OK! goes weekly in 1996. Just in time for Taylor and Fortensky's divorce ...

1999: The big one. OK! sets a new marker in an increasingly crowded sector (Now launched in 1997, Heat in 1999), shelling out £1.2 million for exclusive pictures of David Beckham's marriage to Victoria Adams. Seaman appears as expected (David, the England goalkeeper) but Elton John does not. Still, the deal holds and the pictures, all 47 pages of them, are lovely.

2000: But the curse of the exclusive celebrity deal begins to manifest itself when OK! (which paid the couple £300,000) prints pictures of Anthea Turner and Grant Bovey tucking into free chocolates at their wedding. Nice publicity for the manufacturer - but Anthea and Grant are furious. They had not realised the pictures would be used and felt they lowered the whole tone of the event. Which is an interesting philosophical proposition.

2004: Now the cat-fight gets really vicious as the mother of all legal actions between OK! and Hello! drags on for four years. OK! paid £1 million for exclusive access to the Michael Douglas-Catherine Zeta-Jones wedding in 2000. Hello! got hold of the pictures and came out with them first. In 2004, after an appeal, Hello! is ordered to pay damages - £14,600 to the couple and slightly more than £1 million to OK!.

2006: When will they ever learn? Hello!, in partnership with the US title People, signs the "most eagerly awaited baby exclusive of the year" with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. At £3.8 million, the deal is a record-breaker, but pictures of Shiloh Nouvel appear first on internet celebrity gossip sites. Hello! takes legal action, but finds its web-based targets rather elusive.

Fast forward ...

2009: Security is tight for the wedding of the century as Kelly Osbourne ties the knot with Prince Harry - not least because they have signed a £7.5 million exclusive picture deal with OK!. When Hello! is first to print with pirated pictures, a huge legal challenge is mounted. But it collapses when the source of the leak is revealed - Kelly's mum.

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