celebrity facts Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them  

Jacob Shelton
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List Rules 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.
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: 56

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

Also Ranked

#68 on The Best Actors Working Today

#40 on The Best American Actors Working Today

#97 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#46 on The Best Living American Actors

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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: 38

Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, United States of America

Profession: Model, Actor

Children: Suri Cruise

Credits: Batman Begins, Dawson's Creek, Go, Phone Booth

Also Ranked

#63 on The Greatest Former Child Stars

#62 on The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First

#26 on The Greatest '90s Teen Stars

#87 on Who Is America's Girlfriend in 2016?

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Tom Cruise is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
Photo: 360/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: 54

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

Also Ranked

#70 on The Best American Actors Working Today

#54 on The Best Living American Actors

#47 on The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

#97 on The Best Actors in Film History

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Scarlett Johansson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
Photo: Tinseltown/Shutterstock

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: 32

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

Also Ranked

#13 on The Best American Actresses Working Today

#33 on The Best Living American Actresses

#31 on The Greatest Former Child Stars

#37 on Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With

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Donald Trump is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
Photo: Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

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: 70

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

Also Ranked

#110 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#56 on The Absolute Worst Things to Say on a First Date

#31 on The Scariest Threats to the United States

#11 on Celebrities Who Just Seem Crazy to You

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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: 44

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

Also Ranked

#69 on The Best American Actresses Working Today

#92 on The Best Living American Actresses

#95 on The Greatest American Actresses of All Time

#63 on Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With

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Russell Brand is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Celebrities Who Sued People for Talking About Them
Photo:  uploaded by Jacob Shelton

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: 41

Birthplace: Grays, United Kingdom

Profession: Activist, Comedian, Television producer, Screenwriter Author, + more

Credits: Get Him to the Greek, Arthur, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Hop Hop

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#52 on The Funniest British and Irish Comedians of all Time

#36 on Dream Presidential Debate Moderators

#34 on The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts

#58 on Celebrities Who Would Probably Be Bad at Cuddling

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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: 32

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

Also Ranked

#10 on The Best Living English Actresses

#43 on Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With

#17 on The Best Actresses Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

#29 on Celebrities Whose Names Are Hardest to Spell

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