Welsh soprano Charlotte Church testified today before the U.K.’s media ethics inquiry, which has centered around Rupert Murdoch’s News International. She revealed that two years after she launched her career as a 11-year-old classical crossover star, Rupert Murdoch asked her to sing at his New York wedding to Wendi Deng in exchange for favorable coverage in Murdoch’s papers. She testified:
“I remember being told that Murdoch had asked me to perform at his wedding to Wendi Deng in New York on his yacht. I remember being told of the offer of the favor – to get good press – and I also remember being 13 and thinking, ‘Why would anyone take a favor of £100,000?’ But I was being advised by my management and certain member of the record company that he was a very very powerful man and could certainly do with a favour of this magnitude.”
Church, who is now 25, said she was flown into New York on Murdoch’s private jet to serenade the happy couple with her hit song “Pie Jesu.” She claims she agreed to waive her fee of £100,000 ($155,700) to appease the media mogul.
While the Murdoch revelation was the most sensational of the day, Church aired a string of other complaints against the press. She said her mother had attempted suicide after Murdoch-owned British tabloid News of the World broke the news of her father’s affair in 2005. Church also told the hearing that the Sun published news of her first pregnancy before she had a chance to tell her family.