Tom Cruise will not be branded a bad dad.
The movie star is defending his parenting skills in his defamation lawsuit against Bauer Publishing Co., which ran stories in In Touch and Life & Style magazines following his 2012 divorce from Katie Holmes stating he had "abandoned" their daughter, Suri, to film movies overseas.
In a two-page legal filing obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday, the 51-year-old insists he is still present in his youngest child's upbringing, writing, "I have in no way cut Suri out of my life — whether physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise."
Cruise said that while he has continued to focus on his career, filming multiple movies in a row in late 2012, he remained in constant contact with the 7-year-old, who resides in Manhattan with Holmes per their divorce agreement. And while he has been seen with the girl publicly only a handful of times, he wrote in his declaration that he spoke to the child almost every day during the period in question and also received frequent updates from Holmes.
Cruise's legal team wants the German publishing company to admit that the stories were fabricated and that they didn't have any real sources stating he "abandoned" the girl. The company's legal team claimed to have turned over reporting files and statements from sources claiming that Cruise, who also has two grown children with ex-wife Nicole Kidman, missed Suri's first day of school — she attends the posh private Avenues school — when he could have flown to New York to be there.
In a statement issued to "omg! Insider" on Wednesday, a rep for the company stood by their stories, noting that the magazines "had a wealth of evidence substantiating that following his divorce from Ms. Holmes, Mr. Cruise was absent from his daughter for long periods of time, that seeing her was not his first priority and that she was emotionally struggling as a result of her father's extended absences. Mr. Cruise does not challenge the accuracy of any of the underlying facts that informed the opinions expressed by the editorial teams at In Touch and Life & Style."
Further, they note, "The articles reported on an issue of legitimate public interest. Mr. Cruise has repeatedly promoted himself as being a devoted father who made his family his top priority. Now, with his own admissions, it is clear that the picture he strives to paint is not accurate. It is entirely in keeping with responsible reporting to question Mr. Cruise's self-promotion and to inform the public about the truth."
The $50 million lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles federal court in Oct. 2012 and at the time his attorney Bert Fields called the magazine's claims against Cruise a "vicious lie."
"Tom is a caring father who dearly loves Suri. She's a vital part of his life and always will be," Fields said. "To say it in lurid headlines with a tearful picture of Suri is reprehensible."
If Cruise wins, he promised to give the money to charity.