Charlotte Church's ex-manager has penned a letter to the man behind Britain's inquiry into media ethics to deny the star's claims she turned down a huge fee to perform at Rupert Murdoch's wedding in exchange for good press.
The Welsh singer has been one of the leading lights in a campaign for regulated press standards in the U.K. and took to the stand at the official Leveson Inquiry last November (11) to discuss how she had been treated by British tabloid editors.
During her appearance, Church claimed she was advised to turn down a $160,000 ($100,000) fee to perform at media mogul Murdoch's wedding in 1999 with the promise that she would be portrayed in a positive light in future reporting by his newspapers.
In her witness statement, Church wrote, "Despite my teenage business head screaming, 'Think how many (digital toy) Tamogotchis you could buy!' I was pressured into taking the latter option. This strategy failed... for me. In fact, Mr Murdoch's newspapers have since been some of the worst offenders, so much so that I have sometimes felt that there has actually been a deliberate agenda."
Now her former manager Jonathan Shalit has alleged the deal never took place, insisting no payment was discussed as the appearance boosted her profile in the U.S.
In a letter penned to Lord Justice Leveson, obtained by Britain's Daily Mail, Shalit writes, "(In an interview with the Guardian newspaper) Charlotte repeats the claim she made at your enquiry when she said that the offer made to her through her manager at the time (me) to sing at Rupert Murdoch's wedding in June 1999 was a choice of either a £100,000 fee or favourable publicity. This is simply not true and distorts the facts. Money was never discussed as part of these negotiations and no figure of £100,000 - or any other financial figure - was ever discussed as an appearance fee at the wedding. The background is that, at that time, I was seeking to launch Charlotte's career in America and had been asking for help from all my professional contacts and, indeed, everyone with whom I had any sort of relationships...
"I repeat: money was Never discussed in the negotiations and Charlotte Church was wrong to tell your enquiry that it had formed part of them. The benefits which accrued to her from the deal were those of the promised favourable publicity around the launch of her U.S. career."
A lawyer for Church has hit back at Shalit's letter, insisting the singer stands by her testimony.
A statement from her legal team reads, "For the avoidance of doubt, our client stands by the evidence she gave under oath at the Leveson inquiry."