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Aniston Settles Suit Against Magazines

Celebrity: Actress had sued over publication of photo of her sunbathing topless in her backyard. Details of agreement are not disclosed.

July 03, 2002|DAVID ROSENZWEIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Actress Jennifer Aniston settled a federal lawsuit Tuesday against two men's magazines that published a photo of her sunbathing topless in her backyard.

Accompanied by her actor-husband, Brad Pitt, Aniston spent three hours in the chambers of U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew, where terms of the settlement were hammered out.

No details were disclosed, but both sides described the settlement as amicable. Aniston and Pitt were whisked away by security officers afterward.

The 33-year-old actress, who stars in the hit television series "Friends," was prepared to begin trial Tuesday in her suit against the publishers of Celebrity Skin, which featured the topless photo in its September 1999 issue, and High Society, which printed it in its December 1999 issue.

Man's World Publications publishes Celebrity Skin, and Crescent Publishing Group publishes High Society.

Aniston contended in her lawsuit that a "stalkerazzi" with a telephoto lens scaled a neighbor's eight-foot wall and snapped shots of her "reclining topless in her backyard, wearing only her panties."

She said publication of the photo caused her shame, humiliation, anger and emotional distress.

But lawyers for the magazines argued in court papers that the photo was newsworthy. "Her body and her sex appeal are constant subjects of news coverage about her," they asserted.

They also charged that Aniston owes much of her worldwide fame to the fact that she has been promoted as a sex symbol.

Aniston's lawsuit accused the magazines of invading her privacy through the publication of private facts and using her image for commercial purposes without her consent.

Lew dismissed the invasion of privacy claim in June because the photo had appeared in European magazines before being published in Celebrity Skin and High Society.

The picture was published in the April 1999 issues of Eva Tremila, an Italian magazine, and Daily Sport, a British newspaper, and in the May 31-June 6 issue of Voici, a French magazine.

Aniston settled a claim with Eva Tremila, has a claim pending against Daily Sport and was awarded $1,000 in a judgment against Voici, according to her lawyers.

In May, Aniston filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Francois Navarre, the photographer who allegedly took the photo.

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