George Clooney and his new bride, British lawyer Amal Alamuddin, have kept up with the tradition after their lavish wedding in Italy on Saturday, reportedly selling the pictures for a pricey sum. Stunning photos of Alamuddin in her custom-made Oscar de la Renta gown made a splash on the Internet Tuesday morning, as People magazine — in conjunction with Hello! — and Vogue all released images.
The Clooney wedding, far from unusual, illustrates the fascinating and bizarre relationship magazines have with the stars they cover. Photos are the Holy Grail of any VIP wedding coverage — witness the paparazzi helicopters buzzing some venues — and A-listers, eager to have control over their own images, will make deals with tabloids to thwart the appetite for unauthorized pics: A sort of “we’ll give you exclusive pictures and a couple quotes, you give us all the money.” That way, the frantic search for photo evidence of the wedding is over before it begins, and everyone gets what they want.
Naturally, the idea of a multi-millionaire selling personal photos for a huge sum is kind of gross, so many celebrities let it be known that they plan to donate the proceeds to charity. That’s the word on Clooney and Alamuddin’s sale. Anne Hathaway said proceeds from her wedding photos (which wound up in US Weekly and Life & Style) would go to an organization that supports gay rights. No word on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s intentions with the earnings from their recent nuptials, but they’re famous for taking life milestones and turning them into giant charity donations: Early photos of their daughter Shiloh sold for $4.1 million to People, while the price tag on the first pictures of the twins, Knox and Vivienne, was reportedly close to $11 million.
People magazine is the giant in this field, often snagging wedding photos immediately after the ceremony. (Even though Vogue got the “before” image of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding look, People still got the actual day-of photo spread.)
People has also become the go-to for political families, as well — Cate Edwards and Ashley Biden handed their wedding photos to the magazine — though it’s more likely the exchange involved favorable coverage of pet causes rather than cash.
Not to be left out, US Weekly lands a fair share of wedding photos, just lower on the celebrity ranking. Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s extravagant Texas “I do’s”; Lauren Conrad and William Tell’s Pinterest-perfect nuptials; Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg’s rose-covered ceremony.
Meanwhile, the People cover was a surprise for the Clooney wedding, simply because it was rumored that Vogue — whose editor Anna Wintour was a conspicuous Clooney guest — had cornered the market on the photos. Plus, the Brangelina wedding photos were a bit of a bust: Despite shelling out $2 million for the cover, People apparently only saw a small bump in sales that week. Then again, Brad and Angelina took so many years to get married that interest may have waned — while all eyes are still on Clooney, who was supposed to be a bachelor forever. (QUIZ: Name that Clooney ex!)
Of course, it doesn’t always work out if celebs get their hopes up too high: The New York Daily News reported this month Ashlee Simpson went looking in vain for exclusive buyers after her wedding to Evan Ross — but no one took the bait.