David Duchovny has opted to serve first.
The recently separated Californication star sued Britain’s Daily Mail for defamation Wednesday over the tabloid’s report last week that Duchovny cheated on his wife, Téa Leoni, with a tennis instructor.
The Mail went ahead and posted the item online despite being told “point blank” that the story was false and that the alleged object of this adulterous affection was “explicitly and specifically denying a romantic or sexual relationship with David Duchovny,” according to court documents filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court. (View the lawsuit.)
“By its intentional and reckless conduct, Daily Mail has caused substantial harm to Duchovny, in complete disregard of the truth and of even a semblance of journalistic integrity,” the suit states.
The story—published Oct. 18 and accompanied by the salacious headline “‘An affair? I’m not going to deny it’: Tennis coach tells of her close friendship with ‘sex addict’ David Duchovny as he splits from wife”—stated that the 48-year-old actor had “a full-blown sexual affair” with 28-year-old tennis pro Edith Pakay, that their professional relationship “quickly turned into a love match.”
Pakay, meanwhile, told E! News last week that she and Duchovny were playing partners and friends—and nothing more.
“There is no romance, and we are just friends,” the 28-year-old, Hungarian-born instructor said. “No love, nothing. That is all I have to say.”
Duchovny’s lawyer, Stanton “Larry” Stein, also told E! that Pakay has signed a sworn declaration that the former X-Files hunk does not have romantic feelings for her, nor she for him.
“The last time that I met up with David Duchovny was almost a year ago, in November 2007, when we made plans to play tennis. His personal trainer was also with us. Since November 2007, I have not seen David Duchovny, other than running into him briefly at the gym in March 2008 where he was working out,” she stated.
Duchovny is seeking at least $1 million in damages from the London-based Mail.
The Golden Globe winner sought treatment in August for a sex addiction, prompting much speculation into the true state of his 11-year-plus marriage to Leoni. His attorney confirmed earlier this month that Duchovny was out of rehab and asking for his family’s privacy.
He and Leoni revealed a week ago that they have been separated for several months.