More stories may have been written about Philip Seymour Hoffman's personal life in the past five days than were written throughout his entire career.
And one of them is now the target of a $50 million defamation lawsuit.
David Bar Katz, the playwright friend of Hoffman's who found the actor dead in his apartment on Sunday, has sued the National Enquirer's publisher, American Media, Inc., over a story printed in its Feb. 17 edition that claimed the two men were gay lovers, that Katz witnessed Hoffman freebasing cocaine the night before he died and had seen him do heroin on a number of occasions.
Moreover, the story claims to quote an interview that Katz gave to the tabloid.
In court documents filed Feb. 5 in New York Supreme Court and obtained by E! News, Katz's attorney calls the story "a complete fabrication."
"There was no interview," the suit states. "Bar Katz has never spoken to anyone at the Enquirer about Hoffman. Bar Katz and Hoffman were never lovers. Bar Katz did not see Hoffman freebasing cocaine the night before he died, or at any other time. Bar Katz never saw Hoffman use heroin or cocaine."
The lawsuit also calls out Radar Online, which is also published by American Media, Inc., for seemingly teasing the article in question. "As a result of the Enquirer's press release, the false story about Bar Katz has become a world-wide media story dominating the internet," the suit contends.
The complaint further states that the plaintiff has no recollection of ever meeting the listed authors of the article "and unquestionably has not spoken to them or anyone else from the Enquirer since Hoffman's death."
Bar Katz is seeking $5 million in actual damages and $45 million in punitive damages.
Hoffman's survivors included his partner of 14 years, Mimi O'Donnell (whom he was lately estranged from), and their three children.
O'Donnell was the one who called Katz to ask him to check on Hoffman after the actor failed to pick up their kids for a visit. The Oscar winner was in his bathroom, a needle stuck in his left arm. Investigators later found nearly 50 glassine envelopes of heroin in the apartment, as well as empty baggies and 20 used syringes.
—Reporting by Baker Machado