Tom Cruise is going on offense, suing the publishers of Life & Style Weekly for defamation and seeking $50 million in damages over a cover that alleged he'd "abandoned" daughter Suri.
"Tom is a caring father who dearly loves Suri," attorney Bert Fields said in a statement Wednesday. "To say he has 'abandoned' her is a vicious lie. To say it in lurid headlines with a tearful picture of Suri is reprehensible."
The suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in L.A. At issue is Life & Style's July 30 cover, which had the headline, "Suri In Tears, Abandoned by Her Dad," accompanied by a picture of the girl crying.
The lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, asserts that the interior story does not support the claims made in the headline, and notes that the picture of 6-year-old Suri in tears was taken after the girl was not allowed to bring a puppy home from a pet store.
On July 30, Cruise was photographed holding hands with a mermaid-costume-clad Suri on a VIP visit to Walt Disney World.
The suit argues that while the headlines are easily readable by anyone going through a grocery store checkout line, only a small percentage of people actually read the story inside the magazine, which allegedly contradicts the cover impression.
The media was rife with blaring headlines about Cruise, Katie Holmes and their daughter after Holmes filed for divorce on June 29. The couple reached a settlement quickly and were officially divorced Aug. 20.
In July, Fields sent a letter to American Media, publishers of the National Enquirer, threatening to sue over a story that called Cruise a "monster" and alleged that his was a "house of horrors." That letter was obtained by the Hollywood Reporter.
"Tom doesn't go around suing people," Fields said in the statement. "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."
If Cruise wins the lawsuit, Fields said, the money would be donated to charity.
A call to Bauer Publishing, Life & Style's publisher, seeking comment Wednesday was not immediately returned.