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Tom Cruise settles defamation lawsuit with publisher

Actor Tom Cruise carries his daughter Suri into the Chelsea Piers sports facility in New York in this July 17, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Andr
Actor Tom Cruise carries his daughter Suri into the Chelsea Piers sports facility in New York in this July 17, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Andr

By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Tom Cruise on Friday settled a $50 million defamation lawsuit against a German media company that published a report saying the Hollywood star had "abandoned" his daughter Suri after his divorce from actress Katie Holmes.

Attorneys for Cruise and Bauer Publishing Company, which publishes U.S. celebrity magazines Life & Style and InTouch Weekly, agreed to have the lawsuit dismissed, with each paying their own costs and attorneys' fees, according to a document filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The actor's attorneys said in a statement that Cruise and Bauer settled the dispute and that the publishing company "never intended to communicate that Tom Cruise had cut off all ties and abandoned his daughter, Suri, and regret if anyone drew that inference from anything they published."

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed and are confidential, the statement said.

Bauer's attorneys were not immediately available to comment.

Cruise's lawsuit, which also alleged invasion of privacy, gave a glimpse into the "Mission: Impossible" actor's tightly guarded private life, including his divorce from Holmes and his Scientology religion.

The case was scheduled to head to trial in June 2014.

In a declaration filed in federal court last month, Cruise denied that he had cut his 7-year-old daughter out of his life, "whether physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise."

The initial lawsuit was filed by Cruise in October 2012, after Bauer's magazines published reports claiming Cruise, 51, had abandoned Suri following his 2012 divorce from Holmes.

"'Has he chosen Scientology over Suri for good? Abandoned by Daddy.' I mean come on, that is absolutely disgusting. That is absolutely disgusting," Cruise said according to a transcript of a September video deposition.

Cruise added that one of Holmes' "assertions" for their 2012 divorce was that she wanted to protect Suri from Scientology and that his only daughter from his marriage to Holmes was not currently practicing the religion.

Cruise also said in the deposition that while Holmes, 35, was a practitioner of Scientology before and during their six-year marriage, she left the church when she filed for divorce.

The actor is one of the highest-profile members of Scientology, a religion founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1954.

Its followers, which also include actor John Travolta, believe humans are immortal beings whose existence extends beyond one lifetime. Critics of the church describe it as a cult that harasses people who try to quit.

Actress Leah Remini was one of the most prominent celebrities to leave the Church of Scientology earlier this year, and has spoken out about being cut off by many friends due to her decision.

(Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Walsh)

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