LOS ANGELES (CN) - Tom Cruise sued the publishers of Life & Style and In Touch for $50 million, claiming their false accusation that he abandoned his 6-year-old daughter, Suri, "crosses the line."
"Enough is enough," the A-list actor said in his federal lawsuit against Bauer Publishing Co., Bauer Magazine, Bauer Media Group, Bauer Inc. and Heinrich Bauer North America Inc.
He says the publishers "will stop at nothing to push the sales of their tabloids, even if this means exploiting a defenseless six year old child on their cover, and proclaiming to the world that she has been 'ABANDONED BY HER DAD.'"
Cruise says the cover of Life & Style's July 30 issue featured a photograph of his daughter with the headline, "SURI IN TEARS, ABANDONED BY HER DAD." He claims the inside story, titled "Suri's Emotional Struggle," "does not remotely purport to provide any facts indicating or suggesting that Tom 'abandoned' Suri, as proclaimed on the cover."
"The reference to 'Suri in tears' on the cover (which any ordinary reader would believe were caused by Tom's supposed 'abandonment' of his daughter) are described in the internal story as a result of Suri being upset over not being able to take a puppy home from a pet store," the lawsuit states (parentheses in original).
The abandonment accusation allegedly stems from Cruise's Aug. 20 divorce from Suri's mother, actress Katie Holmes.
Cruise's attorney, Bertram Fields, immediately sent the publishers a letter demanding a retraction of what he called a "demonstrably false, defamatory and highly damaging" accusation, according to court documents.
"Tom Cruise loves his daughter dearly," Fields wrote. "When he was shooting a film, he spoke with her regularly. He is with her as I write this letter. He was with her the day before your false and hurtful cover was issued."
Cruise says the publishers not only refused to print a retraction, but perpetuated the lie in the tabloid's sister publication, In Touch. The Oct. 1 issue of In Touch "contained a huge photograph of Suri looking sad that took up most of the cover, accompanied by a large bold headline proclaiming that Suri has been 'ABANDONED BY DADDY,'" according to the lawsuit.
"This second false accusation of abandonment was made even more shameful and reprehensible by defendants' acknowledgment, buried deep inside the story itself, that while Tom has been in London working on a motion picture, he and Suri are 'very close' and 'speak every day,'" the complaint states.
But the millions of people who read only the "outrageously false claims on the cover" never saw those contradictory comments, the actor claims.
"For years, defendants have been making money hawking lies about plaintiff and others," the lawsuit states. "Plaintiff is not a litigious person and has not sued them before. But to falsely accuse him of abandoning his child crosses the line. Enough is enough."
He says the truth is that he "loves his daughter dearly and would never abandon her."
Bauer Publishing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cruise demands more than $50 million and punitive damages for alleged defamation and false light invasion of privacy.