Cruise accepts magazine's retraction of sterility claim in fabricated interview


HOLLYWOOD actor Tom Cruise has withdrawn a $60 million lawsuit against a German weekly after the magazine admitted an interview it published last month was largely fabricated.

The magazine had quoted the actor as saying that he and his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, were unable to have children because he had a sperm count of zero.

"Mr Cruise never stated that he was sterile or that he had a zero sperm count," Bunte publishers admitted yesterday in a statement.

The reporter who interviewed Cruise in Hamburg last month during a publicity tour for the film Mission Impossible has been told that he will never work for Bunte again. Yesterday's apology represents an about face for the magazine, which stood by its story at first, claiming that the conversation had been taped.

It admitted yesterday that large parts of the interview with the actor, who has an adopted son and daughter, had in fact been invented by the reporter.

Cruise's lawyer claimed the actor's career could suffer because of the sterility claim, calculating that losing even two major film roles would cost him $60 million (£40 million). The lawyer said yesterday his client was accepting Bunte's apology and retraction partly out of sympathy with relatives of two of the magazine's executives who died in a plane crash last week.

Cruise (34) has been at the centre of controversy in Germany recently following the revelation that he belongs to the sect known as the Church of Scientology.

Members of the youth branch of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union have called for a boycott of Mission Impossible, amid newspaper reports that Cruise will be kept under surveillance by German intelligence officers the next time he visits the country.

German politicians are concerned by the growing influence of Scientologists, especially within the property business in Hamburg and Berlin. Bavaria has announced plans to ban Scientologists from entering the civil service, a move the sect has denounced as reminiscent of Hitler's curtailment of religious liberty.

The actor responsible for the voice of Tom Cruise in German synchronised versions of his films joined the crusade against Scientology this week by announcing he was resigning because of the star's links to the sect.