Murdoch Did Church No Favours

Charlotte Church says she waived a £100,000 fee to sing at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding after being told she would receive positive publicity in his newspapers.

Giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, an ongoing investigation into the practices and ethics of the British press following News International’s phone hacking scandal, the Welsh singer said she was asked to perform at the 80-year-old media magnate’s 1999 marriage to Wendi Deng.

News International lawyers have denied her claims, but Church – who was 13 years old at the time – says she clearly remembers asking herself why anybody would turn down £100,000.

“Despite my teenage business head screaming, ‘Think how many [handheld interactive digital pet] Tamagotchis you could buy,’ I was pressured into taking the latter option,” she told the inquiry Nov. 28.

“This strategy failed for me,” she said, explaining that the treatment she’s since received from Murdoch’s papers has at times made her feel there was “a deliberate agenda” against her.

When Murdoch’s now-defunct News Of The World published a story exposing her father’s affair, Church said that “at least in part” it led to her mother’s attempted suicide.

She told the inquiry that NOTW already published a story about her mother’s mental health, “so they knew how vulnerable she was but still published the story.”

She said the treatment she received from the media had “a massive, massive impact on my family life,” and that The Sun – another Murdoch title – revealed her first pregnancy before she told her parents.

“It just had a massive impact on my mother’s health, her mental health, her hospital treatment – the only way they knew about that was either through [phone] hacking or the bribing of hospital staff,” she claimed.

Church also told the hearing that paparazzi took pictures up her skirt, that on most days there were photographers outside her house and that her manager found evidence of a camera hidden in a shrub outside her home.

She said she was “totally appalled” when The Sun had a clock on its website counting down to her 16th birthday, an “innuendo” that she claims was to highlight her reaching the age of sexual consent.

Other artists, actors and celebrities to have recently given statements to the Lord Justice Leveson-headed inquiry into press standards include film star Hugh Grant, actress Sienna Miller, Harry Potter author JK Rowling, Formula One motor racing chief Max Mosley and TV presenter Anne Diamond.