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Now that his divorce from Katie Holmes has been settled, Tom Cruise has a new job for his lawyers: fighting negative gossip. On Wednesday, Cruise's longtime attorney Bert Fields sent a letter to the National Enquirer, threatening to sue over what he calls a "disgraceful and lurid" cover story.
The article in question is indeed a doozy. Titled "Inside Tom's House of Horrors," it claims that Cruise, 50, is a "monster" who "tortured" Holmes, 33, with "abuse," "punishments" and "humiliation" -- and that's just the cover!
Inside the tabloid, unnamed sources claim that Cruise "barked orders at Katie constantly," criticized her for wanting to have another baby, and kept 6-year-old daughter Suri in a "tiny, windowless room" for five months. The article also describes the Rock of Ages star as displaying "many of the symptoms of a man who beats up his wife." (Note that it doesn't say he beat up his wife, just that he seems like someone who would. That's tricky tabloid double-speak for you.)
In his letter to the Enquirer (which was leaked to The Hollywood Reporter), Cruise's attorney defends his client, saying that the magazine's accusations are "vicious, hurtful, damaging lies."
"Mr. Cruise is certainly not a 'monster,'" writes Fields. "He is a caring father, a hardworking actor, and above all, an honest, decent man."
As for Katie, Fields writes that she "did not lead a 'tortured life' with Mr. Cruise," and that "despite their divorce, their relationship was generally a loving one."
Cruise's lawyer is demanding that the Enquirer retract its entire story, or be sued for defamation. Not only will the article cost Cruise "hundreds of millions of dollars of professional and personal damages," says Fields, but "these disgusting lies about Mr. Cruise will be there for all time, to be read by his children and, someday, his grandchildren."
The publisher of the National Enquirer has yet to comment on the actor's threatened lawsuit.
In 2003, Cruise was awarded $10 million in a lawsuit against a French magazine, which claimed that he left Nicole Kidman for a gay male porn star.