Catherine Zeta-Jones's Beef With Diet Link

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Catherine Zeta-Jones's Beef With Diet Link

DETAILS: Kobe Bryant preliminary hearing transcript

NOVEMBER 10--Fresh from a $24,000 victory over the British tab that published her wedding photos, Catherine Zeta-Jones is fixing for her next legal fight--this time, if you can believe it, over published reports that the Academy Award winner shed pounds via the Atkins diet.

In a warning letter sent last week to media outlets (seen here), lawyers for Zeta-Jones assert that "her likeness and persona have been improperly linked" to the popular diet in press accounts, adding that the weight loss program "has been derided by nutritionists and other health care officials for decades."

By incorrectly reporting that Zeta-Jones "uses and/or endorses the Atkins diet," the letter states, publications are "falsely representing to the average reader, including many young women who look up to my client and admire her beautiful appearance, that Ms. Zeta-Jones would recommend this diet to any person looking to lose weight."

Claiming that an association with Atkins could hurt Zeta-Jones's ability to land endorsement deals for "health-related products," attorney John H. Lavely noted, "In essence, my client is being made to look as if she's more concerned about her outward appearance than she is with serious health concerns."

While publications like the New York Post and London's Sunday Telegraph have claimed Zeta-Jones to be an Atkins devotee, an October 20 People magazine story reported that, "a source close to the famously curvy star" knocked down the diet stories, noting that the actress "eats what she wants" and exercises regularly.

Richard Rothstein, spokesman for the Atkins Nutritional Institution, told TSG that the company has not been contacted by Zeta-Jones's lawyers. "It's never been our policy to seek celebrity endorsements," Rothstein said. "Where tabloids get their info is a complete mystery to us." (2 pages)