Spears wants $20 million from Us Weekly for an item it ran about her in October

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 20, 2005 08:00 AM

Britney Spears sued Us Weekly magazine for libel on Monday, accusing the publication of fabricating a story that she and husband Kevin Federline made a sexually explicit video and feared it might be released to the public.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks $10 million in damages and $10 million for misappropriating Spears’s name and image to promote sales. It also seeks unspecified punitive damages, the Associated Press reports.

The magazine says it is standing by its story, which ran in October, about a month after Spears, 24, gave birth to her first child, Sean Preston. She and Federline, 27, married in September of 2004.

“Us Weekly has a credible source, and we stand by our reporting,” an Us spokeswoman told Reuters.

According to Spears’s lawsuit, Us Weekly reported that the couple told their lawyers that “a member of their entourage had threatened to release raunchy footage of the two,” and that Spears feared that “an X-rated tape starring the two may go public.” The magazine also reported that the couple watched the tape with their lawyers and were “acting goofy” during the viewing.

The entire story is false, Spears’s legal papers say. “There was no laughter, disgust or goofy behavior while watching the video in the company of lawyers because they did not watch any video, and because there is no such video,” her suit reads.

Spears’s suit also contends that the article exposes her “to hatred, contempt, ridicule” and causes her “to be shunned or avoided, and has a tendency to injure Plaintiff in her occupation.”