Singer Charlotte Church gave damning testimony against the British press at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics on Monday. In it, she claimed that she sang for free at Rupert Murdoch's wedding in exchange for favorable press coverage.
Church said that Murdoch gave her a choice: either she could take £100,000 for the job, or she could waive the fee in exchange for positive coverage from Murdoch's outlets.
"I remember being told that Rupert Murdoch had asked me to sing at his wedding to Wendi Deng and it would take place on his yacht in New York," Church told the inquiry. "I remember being told that [there would be] the offer of money or the offer of the favor, in order to basically get good press, to be looked upon favorably."
The singer, who is now 25, recalled, "And I also remember being 13 and thinking, 'Why on earth would anybody take a favor over £100,000?'" She said that she and her mother wanted to accept the fee, but managers convinced them that Church could use a favor from such a powerful man.
Church also refuted News International's claim that her performance had been arranged as a surprise without Rupert Murdoch's knowledge. She alleged that Murdoch was fully aware of the arrangement because he had asked her to sing a particular song at the wedding after some communication about his choice.
Church's testimony went beyond Murdoch, though. She said press coverage had been devastating to her and her family, and claimed that her mother had even tried to commit suicide because of stories appearing in newspapers.
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more