Tom Cruise Tabloid Lawsuit: Abandonment Claims ‘Substantially True,’ Publisher Claims

Publisher of "In Touch" and "Life & Style" invokes First Amendment in legal battle with Tom Cruise

The publisher of "Life & Style" and "In Touch," which is being sued by Tom Cruise for printing that the "Jack Reacher" star had abandoned his daughter Suri following his divorce from Katie Holmes, has fired back at the actor's suit.

In an answer to Cruise's defamation lawsuit, filed in October, Bauer Publishing Co. says that its reporting is "substantially true." 

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Bauer's answer, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in California, also asserts a number of defenses, including that it's protected by the First, Fifth and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as well as Article 1, Section 7 of the California Constitution.

Also read: Tom Cruise Sues "Life & Style" Publisher for $50M Over Suri Abandonment Claim

Bauer asserts that it's not liable for damages because, among other things, "[s]ome or all of the allegedly defamatory statements complained of by the plaintiff are true or substantially true."

Bauer also claims that Cruise "cannot prove that he has suffered any compensable damage as a result of any actionable of any actionable statement published by the Bauer Defendants," and that he is "a public figure and the Bauer Defendants did not act with actual malice."

Also read: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: From TomKat to Divorce (Slideshow)

Cruise's attorney, Bert Fields, told TheWrap that Bauer should "be ashamed" of its claims.

"The Bauer magazines said that Tom  'abandoned' his child," Fields said in a statement. "That is unequivocally false, malicious and libelous. They should be ashamed of themselves."

The actor sued over stories published by "Life & Style" and its sister publication, "In Touch," claiming that Cruise had "abandoned" his six-year-old daughter, Suri. Cruise's attorney called the stories, published in July and October, "a disgusting, vicious lie."

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.