Rob Lowe's nanny diaries have taken a sordid turn.
The actor and his wife sued a former household employee Monday for defamation and breach of contract, contending she wrongfully disclosed details about the terms of her employment and lied about the conditions under which she worked.
They also accuse the defendant, Laura Boyce, of intentional misrepresentation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (View the lawsuit.)
"The Lowes bring this suit to set the record straight and to take a stand against all those who, by betraying the confidences of those they work for, celebrity or not, seek to capitalize on their positions for their own financial benefit and to the emotional and financial detriment of their
employers," the complaint states.
Per court documents, the couple allege that Boyce also conspired with another erstwhile family employee and third parties to "damage the Lowes' reputation."
News of the litigation does not come as a surprise, considering the preemptive strike Lowe took in the blogosphere earlier Monday against yet another ex-nanny.
According to entertainment news blog Deadline Hollywood Daily, Lowe has filed three separate breach-of-contract suits, the one against Boyce in Los Angeles and two others against "longtime" nanny Jessica Gibson and onetime family chef Peter Clements in Santa Barbara, accusing all of violating confidentiality agreements they signed when they were hired.
In an item posted today on the Huffington Post, he declares that a former employee—whom he doesn't identify in his statement—threatened to accuse him and his wife of a "vicious laundry list of false terribles" if they don't pay her $1.5 million in hush money by the end of the week.
Lowe is quick to point out that he respects people's right to defend themselves against wrongdoing in the workplace—but that neither he nor his wife, Sheryl, did a thing to warrant such accusations.
According to the former Brat Packer and West Wing star, the ex-staffer abruptly quit several weeks ago after working for the family—in their home and while traveling—off and on for seven years, "without complaint."
His post also includes copies of two emails she apparently sent via BlackBerry to Lowe's wife, one of which, dated Feb. 25, read that she "did not leave out of spite or anger, it was just time for my heart to let go." The other, sent less than an hour later, read:
"Thank you so much sheryl [sic] and I really am sorry. Please tell the kids it had nothing 2 do w them, they are absolutely amazing boys. It had nothing to do with you or rob either, this was me. I love you guys. Ps tell rob I'm really sorry as well."
"Does that sound like someone who has been treated badly?" Lowe writes.
"Everyone knows we live in a time where public figures are targets," he continues. "But I also know of many people in everyday life who are paying the price of a climate where anyone can accuse anybody of anything, anytime, and hope for a big cash pay-off at the end...No one intimidates my family...We will defend ourselves with vigor and without fear."
"Instead of paying off as most celebrities do, he decided that you have to make a stand on this," Lowe's rep told Deadline Hollywood. "That's very very rare and unusual. Most people try to sweep these things under the rug because the allegations are so damaging if they get out. But Rob was not going to be blackmailed. So he's fighting it."
Lowe, who currently plays Calista Flockhart's politician hubby on the ABC hit Brothers & Sisters, has been married to Sheryl Berkoff since 1991. The couple have two teenage sons, Edward and John.