When a tabloid crosses the line with Tom Cruise, said tabloid usually winds up on the receiving end of a lawsuit that the Hollywood A-lister usually wins.
And if Cruise's camp has its way, the National Enquirer could be next.
E! News can confirm that the 50-year-old thesp's attorney, Bert Fields, has sent an angry letter to the publication and its parent company, American Media, blasting a new cover story by the Enquirer that claimed, among other tawdry allegations, that Cruise's home was a "house of horrors" and threatening to file a defamation complaint of epic proportions.
In it, the legal eagle accuses the tabloid of making "numerous false and defamatory assertions" against his client, among them that Cruise's estranged wife, Katie Holmes, lived a "tortured life" in a marriage that was a "living nightmare" before the 33-year-old ex–Dawson's Creek star abruptly filed for divorce last month; that the actor humiliated and verbally abused her; and that he kept their daughter, Suri, in virtual lockdown.
Fields also slammed what he said was a "disgraceful and lurid cover with its bogus, red and yellow headlines announcing one cruel lie after another about Mr. Cruise" and went on to take them apart one by one.
"Contrary to your blaring headlines, Mr. Cruise has not engaged in any 'abuse' or 'humiliation' of Katie Holmes," he wrote. "Nor has he ever subjected her to any punishments."
The lawyer continued: "It is also untrue that Mr. Cruise subjected his wife to relentless verbal abuse, emotional punishment, humiliation and intimidation. These are all egregious lies. He did none of these things."
Regarding the "house of horrors" charge, Fields called Cruise's residence in Telluride, Colo., a "pleasant and loving home."
"Suri was not forced to stay for five months in a tiny windowless room," he added. "She spent most of her time with Tom and Katie. She slept in a nursery adjoining their bedroom. It has a window."
He also rejected a claim that a "so-called 'expert'" told the Enquirer that Cruise "displays many of the symptoms of a man who beats up his wife." In fact, says Fields, the expert has "never met" his client.
Fields demanded an immediate retraction for "each and every one of the false assertions," which he noted will cause the Rock of Ages star hundreds of millions of dollars in professional and personal damages.
A rep for the Enquirer and American Media has yet to comment.
—Reporting by Ken Baker