Charlotte Church Says She Was 'Pressured' Into Waiving Fee for Singing At Rupert Murdoch's 1999 Wedding

Charlotte Church Rupert Murdoch Split - H 2011
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Charlotte Church Rupert Murdoch Split - H 2011

The singer, who was just 13 at the time, was advised that it would guarantee a "good press" from News International in the future.

LONDON - Charlotte Church, the singer who was just thirteen when she sang Pie Jesu at Rupert Murdoch's 1999 wedding to Wendi Deng, told the Leveson Inquiry that she had been "pressured" into waiving her $165,000 fee in order to guarantee "good press" from News International in the future.

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Church, who gave evidence on oath at the Inquiry into press standards and behavior Monday, said she had been advised by her management and record company to sing for the media mogul for free because of Murdoch's power and influence.

"I remember being told that [there would be] the offer of money or the offer of the favor, in order, basically, to get good press," she told the Inquiry, adding that she and her mother had been mystified as to why anyone would trade the offer of so much money for good press, she told the Inquiry.

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"I remember being 13 and thinking 'why would anyone take a favor 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 favor of this magnitude."

In her witness statement Church had said "Despite my teenage business head screaming 'think how many Tamagotchis you could buy!' I was pressured into the latter option. But the strategy failed. In fact Mr Murdoch's newspaper's have since been some of the worst offenders, so much so that I have sometimes felt there has actually been a deliberate agenda."

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News International has denied any suggestion that such an offer was made and said that the singer's appearance had been planned as a "surprise" for the News Corp CEO and his new bride.

But Church told the Inquiry she had a different recollection and that the specifics of what she was to sing had been negotiated with Murdoch and that it was Murdoch who made the specific request for Pie Jesu. 

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"When we raised the point that Pie Jesu was a requiem, it was a funeral song...he  (Murdoch) didn't care. He liked that song and he wanted me to sing it, so I did."

The singer told the Leveson Inquiry that child stars such as herself needed special protection because of their youth and said she wanted to be able to protect her family and children from further press intrusion.