28 Nov 2011

Charlotte Church ‘waived fee for good press’

Singer Charlotte Church tells the Leveson inquiry into press standards that she agreed to turn down a £100,000 fee to sing at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding in exchange for favourable publicity.

Ms Church told the inquiry into press standards that Mr Murdoch had personally requested a performance at his wedding to Wendi Deng in 1999.

In a statement she said she was offered a fee of £100,000 by News International, but was told if she waived it she “would be looked upon favourably by Mr Murdoch’s papers”.

The inquiry heard News International denied the offer was made.

She said she and her mother wanted to accept the money, but were urged by her management and figures from the record company into not taking it.

“He [Rupert Murdoch] flew us in on his private jet from LA to New York, which was amazing,” she said.

“We went on to his boat which had a grand piano and which I was amazed by and I sang at the ceremony.”

But in her witness statement she said that the waiver “failed”.

While newspapers such as Mr Murdoch’s have not helped my career, they certainly damaged it. Charlotte Church

“In fact Mr Murdoch’s newspapers have since been some of the worst offenders, so much that I have sometimes felt that there has actually been a deliberate agenda,” Ms Church said.

“While newspapers such as Mr Murdoch’s have not helped my career, they certainly damaged it.

“I do of course accept television and radio have been very significant contributors to my success. I have little complaint at the contact of those media organisations or the people they employ.”

Charlotte Church said she believed a “shadow network” of staff at hotels, restaurants and airlines worked to tip off journalists about her movements.

She said intrusion by photographers had a “massive impact” on her and her family and had “infiltrated” her everyday life, including when she takes her young children to the nursery.

The singer went on to tell the hearing that The Sun published a story about her being pregnant for the first time before she had even told her family.
Only she, her then partner Gavin Henson, and her doctor knew about the pregnancy.

She said that the only way journalists could have found out about the pregnancy was through “hacked voicemail messages from the doctor or other surveillance”, although she did not have any evidence.