Elton turns down £6m for US TV wedding

Key points

• American TV channel offers $10m for Elton John's wedding

• Sir Elton John to join with partner in civil union at Windsor's Guildhall

• Bill Clinton to address Elton's 'hen night' in video message

Key quote

"It is the first gay celebrity wedding, and can you think of a more famous gay couple?" - Chris White, Now magazine news editor

Story in full WHILE other celebrities have cashed in on their wedding day, signing exclusive magazine and television deals, Sir Elton John is said to be keeping his own special day a private affair. The flamboyant musician has reportedly turned down 5.6 million for the exclusive rights to his "wedding" tomorrow to David Furnish.

The singer was offered $10 million by an American television company to cover their civil partnership, it was reported. The channel apparently offered to give the money to an AIDS charity but was still turned down.

Sir Elton is insisting the ceremony will be "very private" out of respect to the pair's parents.

A friend said: "Elton was approached to do a huge thing with an American media organisation which wanted to cover everything including the build-up and the wedding day itself.

"They were offering $10 million, but Elton is just not interested. He wants it as private as possible."

The offer dwarfs amounts paid to other celebrity couples. The rights for Victoria and David Beckham's wedding were sold for a reported 1 million to OK!. The magazine is also said to have paid Jordan and Peter Andre 1.75 million.

Sir Elton's wedding, one of the first civil partnership ceremonies to take place in England, will be held at Windsor's Guildhall, the same venue chosen by the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker-Bowles for their wedding last year.

Afterwards, 700 guests will attend a reception at Sir Elton's Berkshire home, Woodside.

Yesterday it was revealed that prior to the wedding, on Sir Elton's "hen night" in Soho, London, a video message from the former US president, Bill Clinton, will be played.

A source said: "We were running through rehearsals when the tape was played. We knew Elton had good connections, but to see the ex-US president was something else."

Mr Clinton congratulates Sir Elton, 58, and David Furnish, 42, and says: "If there were more people like Elton, the world would be a better place."

Since announcing they are to wed, the proceedings have been surrounded by rumours including whether Lulu will be maid of honour and Victoria Beckham best man.

Chris White, news editor of Now magazine, said celebrity media around the world would be fighting for the "scoop".

"It is the first gay celebrity wedding, and can you think of a more famous gay couple?"

Although Sir Elton is fiercely protecting the privacy of the ceremony itself, magazine editors are hoping the extravagant after-party will be up for grabs.

Mr White added: "Elton is renowned for his showbiz parties, so even though the ceremony is going to be sensible and sedate, you can only imagine what the party afterwards is going to be like."

However, Phil Hall, former editor of Hello! magazine, believed such a huge sum for the rights was a "risky strategy".

He pointed out celebrity buy-outs are usually for a number of stories, as in the case of Jordan, but Sir Elton is unlikely to invite the cameras into every aspect of his life. Also, many of the target audience find it difficult to accept gay marriage.

"Sadly there is still massive prejudice against gay people in this country. An awful lot of people, especially the older audience, will be turned off by a gay wedding," said Mr Hall.

But he said it would still be worth it for a smaller or struggling magazine, for the "worldwide publicity".

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