UK
28/11/2011 15:22 GMT | Updated 28/01/2012 10:12 GMT

Leveson Inquiry: Charlotte Church Turned Down £100,000 For 'Favourable' Press

Charlotte Church sang at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding for free in exchange for favourable publicity, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.

The 'Voice of an Angel' singer, who was 13 at the time, could charge up to £100,000 per performance, but waived the usual fee when told she "would be looked upon favourably by Murdoch's papers".

"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," she said.

"I remember being told that the offer of money or the offer of the favour, in order to basically get good press, to be looked upon favourably. And I also remember being 13 and thinking, 'why on earth would anybody take a favour over £100,000?'."

Murdoch and News International deny that any such offer was made.

During an uncomfortable session of questioning, Church, now 25, told how earlier this year police had informed her that her phone had been hacked and monitored by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire when she was 17.

“They had passwords, pin numbers, phone numbers of lots of people in my life, my mother, my father, their friends, my friends, my old boyfriend's number, it was quite substantial,” she told Leveson, referring to it as a “massive black book, which seemed to be full of information”.

The inquiry also heard of how an article in the News of the World detailed allegations that her father was having an affair. "I see no public interest in this story except to sell papers," she said, adding that it had a huge effect on her mother and a "massive psychological impact on me".

“I think I've just blanked out how bad these articles were," Church said.

"It was totally sensationalised, whether partially or wholly true. And I just really hated the fact that my parents who had never been in this industry – apart from looking after me – were being exposed and vilified in this fashion. It had a massive, massive impact on my family life.”

The singer also told of how The Sun ran a story during the early months of her first pregnancy, entitled “Church sober shock".

She said she believed the newspaper had found out about her pregnancy from phone hacking.

Church also told of how photographers cut a hole in the hedge outside her home, through which members of the press could fit a camera, as well as a 'countdown clock' that appeared on The Sun's website, running down to the singer's 16th birthday with the innuendo of her reaching the age of (sexual) consent.

"It made me feel horrible... I was really uncomfortable with it," she said.