The singer Charlotte Church has alleged that she waived a £100,000 fee to sing at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding, in exchange for a promise that she “would be looked upon favourably by Murdoch’s papers”.
Church was 13 at the time of Murdoch’s wedding to Wendi Deng in 1999. She made the explosive allegation in her statement to the Leveson inquiry. Asked about it at her appearance befor the inquiry today, she said:
I remember being told that Murdoch had asked me to perform at his wedding to Wendi Deng in New York on his yacht. I remember being told of the offer of the favour — to get good press — and I also remember being 13 and thinking why would anyone take a favour over £100,000?
But I was being advised by my management and certain member of the record company that he was a very very powerful man and could certainly do with a favour of this magnitude.
News International has denied the allegation, and said that Church’s appearance was a surprise for Murdoch. However, she disputes this, claiming that her understanding was that Murdoch had specifically requested her presence: “I had been told by my management that he had specifically asked for me to sing Pie Jesu.”
Church told the inquiry that while she and her mother wanted to take the money, her management insisted she accept the waiver. She said that it had “failed”:
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. While newspapers such as Mr Murdoch’s have not helped my career, they certainly damaged it.