"Dr. Phil" McGraw and the National Enquirer are lining up for a courtroom brawl after the television talk show host and his wife filed a $250 million lawsuit against the tabloid and its sister publications, charging that they falsely accused him of being an abusive husband and a hypocrite who doesn't practice what he preaches. The lawsuit was filed last week in Palm Beach County, Fla., against the Enquirer, its owner American Media Inc., and its sister publications, Star magazine and the website Radar Online, the AP reports. According to the suit, the publications damaged McGraw's reputation by falsely accusing the TV psychologist of physically and verbally abusing his wife, Robin. The articles also said that Robin McGraw tolerated the abuse and that the couple are getting divorced. The suit also says the Enquirer threatened to run a false story accusing McGraw of busting a man's head with a beer mug during a drunken melee while in college in the early 1970s.
The suit says such allegations unjustly harm the McGraws' reputation as outspoken opponents of spousal abuse. It adds that Robin McGraw started a foundation aimed at helping battered spouses and that the couple's marriage is solid. "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," attorney Lin Wood said in a statement. American Media said it will defend itself and expose Phil McGraw's "stale and fraudulent claims for what they really are." "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 melange of exploitation, celebrity parasitism, and credential mining goes back years' has filed a lawsuit against AMI and accused it of being a 'trashy tabloid,'" the statement said. "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." Click for more on the suit. (Read more Dr. Phil McGraw stories.)