Dr. Phil McGraw and his wife Robin filed a $250 million defamation lawsuit against America Media Inc., the parent company of The National Enquirer, Radar Online, and Star Magazine, accusing the outlets of publishing false stories about the couple for years.
In their lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County, Florida, the couple accuses AMI of being nothing more than a "trashy tabloid" in the business of generating money by publishing "gossip and falsehoods," and claims the company has been publishing an article a month about him and his wife since Feb. 27, 2003.
In 2012, the McGraws agreed to not file a lawsuit if AMI ceased publishing false stories about the couple for two years. But in 2015, before the agreement had expired, AMI threatened to publish a new salacious story about the McGraws.
One of the final straws for the McGraws was in Feb. 2016, when AMI threatened to publish a story describing how McGraw got into a drunken bar fight when he was a student at Texas Tech University. The article stated that McGraw smashed a man in the head with his beer mug, splitting the man's head open. However, McGraw countered that the bar didn't even exist at the time, and the current location didn't even get an alcohol license until 2009 — 38 years after he left the city. That "Caboose" story did not publish, but in March 2016 the McGraws claim AMI began "republishing false and defamatory accusations" it had made against them between 2003 and 2012.
McGraw's attorney, Lin Wood, released a statement to BuzzFeed News on Monday:
Dr. and Mrs. McGraw, after enduring years of the National Enquirer, STAR, and other American Media Inc. publications knowingly and recklessly printing outrageous lies about them, their marriage, their integrity and their character, have finally concluded that enough is enough and too much is too much....Many of the lies published by the National Enquirer and American Media have focused for years on allegations that Dr. and Mrs. McGraw are on the verge of a divorce or have decided to file for divorce.
Next month, Dr. and Mrs. McGraw will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Dr. and Mrs. McGraw are role models for the happily married.
It is these types of lies that the National Enquirer and American Media have been publishing for years while making millions of dollars in the process of so doing. The McGraws are determined to stop these lies and the business practice of libel for profit.
A spokesperson for AMI called McGraw's of the word "trashy" ironic given his own past "exploitation" of current events.
It’s a delicious irony that Dr. Phil, whom a California judge has called a “charlatan” and the Daily Beast has called a “quack” whose “unseemly mélange of exploitation, celebrity parasitism and credential mining goes back years,” has filed a lawsuit against AMI and accused it of being a “trashy tabloid.”
This from the man who visited Britney Spears in the hospital in 2008, then issued a public statement about the visit in violation of her family’s trust.
AMI looks forward to successfully defending itself against Dr. Phil in a court of law, and exposing his stale and fraudulent claims for what they really are.
Claudia Rosenbaum is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Rosenbaum at email@example.com.
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