Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them

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List Criteria: All celebrities on this list have sued people for defamation - either slander or libel.

In this day and age, with phone records, endless email chains, and people who save three gigs worth of text messages, if you’re going to say something mean about a celebrity, it better be true. Celebrity lawsuits aren’t anything new, but they seem to be happening more frequently in the last 20 years. The most prevalent cases happen when a celebrity feels like they’ve been slandered – be it by the press, by another celebrity, or just some guy on Twitter. Slander is serious business: if enough people believe a lie about you it can be perceived as real and in the entertainment biz, perception is reality. Here’s a list of celebrities who were slandered, and celebrities who sued.

A lot of the famous lawsuits on this list involve a star suing a paper for insisting that they’re too fat, or too skinny, or an alien or whatever, but some of the most interesting cases involve celebrities not wanting to be perceived as something they view as harmful to their career. For James Woods it was being a drug addict; for Jim Carrey it was being gropey; for Bret Michaels it was having the ability to be in two places at the same time. The celebrity slander cases on this list are mostly over with, but some are still pending so keep your eye on the news. You never know when a $500 million ruling is going to come down.
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  1. Sean Penn is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
    Photo: Juanky Pamies Alcubilla/Flickr
    In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lee Daniels compared Empire star, Terrence Howard, to Sean Penn, as they've both had a few domestic disputes. Sean Penn didn't care for the comparison and filed a lawsuit against Daniels for the princely sum of $10 million.
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    • Age: 55
    • Birthplace: California, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor, Film Director
    • Children: Dylan Frances Penn, Hopper Jack Penn
    • Credits: Mystic River, 21 Grams, Milk, Dogtown and Z-Boys
  2. Katie Holmes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
    Photo: s_bukley/Shutterstock
    In 2011, Katie Holmes settled a lawsuit against celebrity gossip rag, The Star, for $50 million. The suit was over an article that claimed that Holmes was a drug addict. The magazine issued an apology and even said that they would donate a "substantial donation" to one of Holmes's favorite non-profits.
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    • Age: 37
    • Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, USA
    • Profession: Model, Actor
    • Children: Suri Cruise
    • Credits: Batman Begins, Dawson's Creek, Go, Phone Booth
  3. Tom Cruise is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
    Photo: 360b/Shutterstock
    In 2003, Tom Cruise won a defamation case against a gay porn actor who claimed to a French magazine that he and Cruise had had an affair that lead the dissolving of Cruise's marriage to Nicole Kidman. The "erotic wrestler" was told to pay a sum of $10 million.
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    • Age: 53
    • Birthplace: Syracuse, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Television director, Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor
    • Children: Suri Cruise, Connor Cruise, Isabella Jane Cruise
    • Credits: Top Gun, Mission: Impossible, Jerry Maguire, A Few Good Men
  4. Scarlett Johansson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
    Photo: user uploaded image
    The next time you write a novel, make sure ScarJo isn't a character, because she'll probably sue. Case in point: in 2014 she sued French author Grégoire Delacourt for writing her into his book as a model who had multiple affairs. She said the book defamed her name, but the court disagreed and awarded her just €2,500 of the the €50,000 she asked for.
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    • Age: 31
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Model, Actor, Voice acting, Singer
    • Children: Rose Dorothy Dauriac
    • Credits: Lost in Translation, The Avengers, The Prestige, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  5. Donald Trump is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
    Photo: user uploaded image
    After the Miss Universe pageant cut ties with Donald Trump over his remarks of Mexicans being "rapists," he fired back at them with a breach of contract and defamation complaint. The amount for which he is suing is thought to be in excess of $500 million.
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    • Age: 69
    • Profession: Businessperson, Television producer, Investor, Entrepreneur, Real estate entrepreneur, + more
    • Children: Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Tiffany Trump, Barron Trump
    • Credits: The Apprentice, Two Weeks Notice, Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump, Fox and Friends
  6. Cameron Diaz is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
    Photo: Featureflash/Shutterstock
    In 2005, Cameron Diaz sued News Group Newspapers after their paper The Sun ran a story claiming that she was seen out kissing some hunk while she was dating Justin Timberlake. Well, it turned out that the hunk was an MTV VJ buddy of hersNews Group Newspapers agreed to pay undisclosed damages to the actress and reimburse her legal costs.
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    • Age: 43
    • Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Model, Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: There's Something About Mary, Shrek, Gangs of New York, Being John Malkovich
  7. Russell Brand is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
    Photo: Jessie Essex/via Wikipedia
    A story alleging that Russell Brand had cheated on his girlfriend in November 2013 brought the comedian and English paper The Sun to court in early 2014. The paper's publisher (Newsgroup) apologized and agreed to pay Brand's legal fees and damages, believed to have been at least five figures.
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    • Age: 40
    • Birthplace: Grays, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Activist, Comedian, Television producer, Screenwriter, Author, + more
    • Credits: Get Him to the Greek, Arthur, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Hop Hop
  8. Keira Knightley is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
    Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock
    When the British paper, The Daily Mail, posted a photo of Keira Knightley in an article about anorexia, the actress sued the paper for £3,000 and donated her winnings to the eating disorder charity, Beat.
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    • Age: 30
    • Birthplace: Teddington, London, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Model, Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Imitation Game, Pride & Prejudice, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
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