Tom Cruise Settles $50 Million Lawsuit Against 'Life & Style' Publisher

The actor sued over claims he had abandoned his child, and the litigation that followed made for quite a few headlines

Hollywood Reporter/December 20, 2013

By Eriq Gardner

Tom Cruise has resolved a $50 million lawsuit against Bauer Media Group over a story in Life & Style that he had "abandoned" his 6-year-old daughter, Suri.

The parties stipulated to the dismissal of the lawsuit in a California federal court on Friday. Terms of any settlement weren't revealed beyond that each side will bear its own legal costs.

"Bauer Publishing, as well as In Touch and Life & Style magazines, never intended to communicate that Tom Cruise had cut off all ties and abandoned his daughter, Suri, and regret if anyone drew that inference from anything they published," a joint statement from attorneys for Cruise and Bauer read.

The resolution puts an end to a high-profile drama that began after Cruise's divorce from Katie Holmes and the subsequent tabloid frenzy over the details.

In October, 2012, after hearing about his supposed abandonment, the actor decided to take action.

"Tom doesn't go around suing people," said his attorney Bert Fields at the time. "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."

The litigation was showy, and the downside of pursuing it was the risk that details of Cruise's life would become public. Nevertheless, a few months after bringing the lawsuit, his attorneys doubted that it would end anywhere but a judgment at trial. "Tom is going to want to push this one all the way," Fields told The Hollywood Reporter this past summer.

The discovery process was a beast.

As a public figure, Cruise needed to demonstrate malice in order to prevail. And to get there, his side probed Bauer's possible ties to Nazis -- first detailed in an investigation by TheWrap -- and how the media company might have an interest in destroying the world's most famous Scientologist. (The actor was later ordered to pay the other side's reasonable legal fees in connection with this issue.)

The actor also wanted details about the publication's sources, pushing for information about them and looking to force Bauer to admit there were none.

Bauer's attorneys at Davis Wright Tremaine were no less aggressive. They pursued information on the child's mental health records, the role that Cruise's membership in the Church of Scientology played in his decisions regarding his visitation and communication with Suri, and the extent to which Cruise was in contact with Suri following his separation and divorce.

With discovery winding down and summary judgment motions due, the two sides made final stabs to compel relevant information. In doing so, they opened up about what was happening in the case and included excerpts of Cruise's deposition. After Radar Online published some of it, the press spent weeks discussing whether the actor really said that acting was like fighting oversees, as well as other "bombshell" revelations.

Needless to say, in a fight against the press run amok, Cruise maybe got more than he bargained for. Of late, there was speculation that Holmes would be testifying.

But all the drama now comes to an end with the parties having abandoned the litigation.

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