Photo Credit: James Devaney/WireImage
Warning: if you call Tom Cruise a bad father, he might sue you! The actor has filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against the publishers of Life & Style and In Touch, after the magazines claimed that Cruise had "abandoned" his six-year-old daughter Suri.
"Tom is a caring father who dearly loves Suri. She's a vital part of his life and always will be," Cruise's attorney Bert Fields said in a statement. "To say it in lurid headlines with a tearful picture of Suri is reprehensible."
The Life & Style story, published this summer in the wake of Cruise's split from Katie Holmes, ran a teary-eyed cover photo with the headline "Suri in Tears, Abandoned By Her Dad." (Inside, the story explained that Suri was actually crying because her mother denied her a puppy from a pet store -- not because of Cruise.) The In Touch cover story, which ran in September, implied that Tom had ditched his daughter after the divorce. "44 DAYS WITHOUT TOM ... ABANDONED BY DADDY," read the headline. "Suri is left heartbroken as Tom suddenly shuts her out and even misses her first day of school... HAS HE CHOSEN SCIENTOLOGY OVER SURI FOR GOOD?"
"Tom doesn't go around suing people," Fields told the press. "He's not a litigious guy. But when these sleaze peddlers try to make money with disgusting lies about his relationship with his child, you bet he's going to sue."
Cruise may not be a "litigious guy," but he was doing a lot of damage control after Holmes abruptly ended their marriage. In July, weeks before the Life & Style story was published, Cruise's lawyer issued a statement explaining that Cruise was speaking to Suri every day while shooting a film on location. "Tom dearly loves Suri, and the last thing he would ever do is abandon her," said Fields.
At the same time, Cruise's legal team also threatened to sue the The National Enquirer for claiming that Cruise was emotionally abusive to his family, trapping them in a "house of horrors."
"Mr. Cruise is certainly not a 'monster,'" Fields wrote in a letter to the publication. "He is a caring father, a hardworking actor and above all, an honest, decent man."
More recently, in September, Fields issued a denial of the Vanity Fair story that described Cruise "auditioning" wives through the Scientology Center. "Lies in a different font are still lies -- designed to sell magazines," Fields scoffed.
Suing the tabloids has worked out well for Cruise before. In 2003, he was awarded $10 million in a lawsuit against a French magazine, which claimed that he left Nicole Kidman for a gay male porn star.