It figures: Rosie ain't going quietly.
Rosie O'Donnell was walloped with a $100 million lawsuit Tuesday for pulling the plug on her namesake magazine.
Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing went gunning for O'Donnell in a New York-based lawsuit accusing the entertainer of breaching her contract and dissing Rosie in public.
The $100 mil figure is what Gruner + Jahr says O'Donnell's departure will cost the publisher at the very least. Gruner + Jahr say O'Donnell is solely to blame for Rosie's demise.
According to court documents, Gruner + Jahr says the trouble started over the summer after O'Donnell wound down her talk show. "[She] began to transform her public persona from the warm, fun-loving 'Queen of Nice' to a self-proclaimed 'über bitch,' and to behave erratically and in defiance of her contractual commitments to G+J," the suit says.
"O'Donnell's bizarre and ofttimes mean-spirited behavior soon had the effect of making it difficult, and ultimately impossible, for G+J to continue publishing the magazine."
The filing sent O'Donnell's legal department to DEFCON 1. "Rosie will fight this," says publicist Cindi Berger. "Her name and integrity are at stake. She is countersuing."
No immediate timetable on when O'Donnell's paperwork will hit the courthouse.
Rosie, which is slated for extinction with its December issue, was jointly owned by O'Donnell and Gruner + Jahr. O'Donnell contributed her name, face and celebrity-friendly cachet, while Gruner + Jahr took care of the nuts-and-bolts operation.
News of dueling lawsuits isn't exactly a shocker. Gruner + Jahr seemed primed for litigation once O'Donnell, in the words of the company's spokesperson, violated "the conditions of our binding contract" last month. O'Donnell had been revving up her lawyers for months before hitting the eject button.
The dust-up dates back several months as O'Donnell and Gruner + Jahr wrestled for control over the soul, and editorial direction, of the magazine.
"During the past two months, they have moved to take away the editorial control I had under our agreement," the comic said last month upon announcing she was jettisoning from Rosie.
O'Donnell was particularly miffed over some staff changes (which she saw as making the magazine too girlie) and the insistence on using her famous mug on every cover.
The comedienne launched Rosie in July 2001 as her answer to Martha Stewart Living and O, The Oprah Magazine. The mag was a reworked version of the century-old McCall's title.
Despite slipping newsstand sales in recent months, Rosie seemed fairly healthy. It counted 3.5 million subscribers, ranking it among the top 15 magazines in the U.S., according to Advertising Age.
Gruner + Jahr is the publishing arm of German media behemoth Bertelsmann. Aside from Rosie, its stable of glossies includes Family Circle, Fast Company, Fitness and Parents.